Reduction in Force. RIF: A Practitioner’s Guide. What is A Reduction in Force?.
Reduction in Force RIF: A Practitioner’s Guide
What is A Reduction in Force? Reduction in Force (RIF): The term used for the release of an employee from his/her competitive level by furlough of more than 30 days, separation, demotion, or reassignment requiring displacement, when that release is required because of lack of work; shortage of funds; insufficient personnel ceiling; reorganization; the exercise of reemployment rights or restoration rights; or reclassification of an employee's position due to erosion of duties when such action will take effect after an agency has formally announced a reduction in force in the employee's competitive area and when the reduction in force will take effect within 180 days.
What is Reduction in Force? Simply put, when the government has a layoff, RIF procedures determine who stays, and who goes.
RIF Competition • Who competes in a RIF? • How does the competition work?
RIF Competition • A RIF takes place in a specific piece of one agency. • A specific group of employees compete with each other.
Competitive Area • Part of an agency in which employees will compete. (It may be all or part of the agency.) • Defined in terms of organizational unit(s) and geographic location. • The smallest is a subdivision of an agency under separate administration within a local commuting area. See 5 CFR 351.402
Competitive Area = The Big Box No RIF HereNo RIF Here No RIF HereNo RIF Here RIF Here
Competitive Level The specific positions within the competitive area that compete with each other during a RIF.
COMPETIVE LEVELS within a COMPETIVE AREA RIF Here RIF Here No RIF No RIF Here Here No RIF No RIF HereHere RIF Here No RIF Here No RIF Here No RIF Here
competitive level All positions in the competitive area which are in the same: • Grade or level • Classification series
competitive level= …and similar enough in • duties • qualification requirements • pay schedules • working conditions that an incumbent in one position could be reassigned to any other position in the level without undue interruption.
competitive level Competitive level determinations are based on the employee’s official position, not personal qualifications.
competitive level There must be separate competitive levels, according to: • Service (i.e., Competitive, Excepted); • Appointment Authority; • Pay Schedule; • Work Schedule (i.e., full-time, part-time, intermittent, seasonal, or on-call) • Trainee Status
Retention Factors Within a competitive level, employees are ranked according to the four factors mandated by law (5 U.S.C. 3502): • Tenure of Employment • Military Preference (also called Veterans preference) • Length of Service • Efficiency or Performance Rating
RETENTION FACTOR: Tenure Employees are grouped according to their type of appointment: Group I: Career employees who are not serving a probationary period Group II: Career employees who are serving a probationary period or have less than three years under a competitive appointment (Career Conditional) Group III: Employees with term or indefinite appointments or TAPER 5 CFR 351.501 (b)
Tenure GROUPS NOTE: An employee with a temporary appointment limited to one year or less is not considered to be a competing employee in a RIF, unless the employee has completed one (1) year of current, continuous service under a temporary appointment with no break in service of 1 workday or more.
Tenure GROUPS In a RIF, all competing Group III employees must be released before a Group II employee can be reached. All competing Group II employees must be released before a Group I employee can be reached.
RETENTION FACTOR: Veterans SUBGROUPS Each Tenure Group is divided into three Subgroups: • Subgroup AD: Veterans with a service-connected disability of 30% or more • Subgroup A: Veterans not included in Subgroup AD • Subgroup B: Nonveterans NOTE: “Veterans” includes both veterans and “Preference Eligible.”
Who is a Veteran?Who is a Preference Eligible? These terms are defined in law at 5 U.S.C. 2108.
What about retired military? Only certain retired members of a uniformed service is considered to be a “preference eligible.” 5 CFR 351.501 (d)
RETENTION FACTOR: Service Within each subgroup, employees are ranked by Service Computation Date. The employee with the most service (Seniority) is ranked at the top. The employee with the least service is ranked at the bottom.
Service Computation Date (SCD) The Service Computation Date (SCD) should reflect all creditable service: • Civilian and military • Consecutive and Nonconsecutive. Detailed information on which federal service is “creditable” is found in the Office of Personnel Management’s “Guide to Processing Personnel Actions.”
SCD Example: DEBBIE Debbie entered the government on July 7, 1991 and has been employed in the same agency ever since. Debbie’s SCD is July 7, 1991.
SCD Example: JUAN Juan worked for the government from June 7, 1986 to June 6, 1990. He left to work In the private sector and returned to federal service on January 5, 1996. Juan’s SCD is January 5, 1992. (This is the most recent entry date, with his previous 4 years added to it.)
SCD EXAMPLE: PETER Peter spent six years in the military on active duty during the 1990s. He entered the federal government as a civilian on March 13, 2004, and has been employed as a civilian ever since. Peter’s SCD is March 13, 1998. (This is the date he entered civilian service, with his six years of military service added to it.)
SCD Example: JENIFER Jenifer entered civilian service on July 7, 1984. She left her job on April 20, 1989 to work in the private center. She returned to federal service on March 15, 1992. She left again on September 20, 1996. She returned to a federal job on November 12, 2002, and has been employed in that agency ever since. Jenifer’s SCD is July 23, 1993. (This is her most recent entry date, with 4 years, 288 days, plus 4 years, 188 days, or a total of 9 years, 112 days, added to it.)
RETENTION FACTOR: Credit for Performance Employees receive additional service credit based upon their performance evaluations. The extra credit is based on their three (3) most recent performance evaluations during the four-year period prior to the date the agency issues RIF notices. Credit is based on an arithmetic average of the last three ratings, rounded up to the nearest whole number.
RETENTION FACTOR: CREDIT FOR PERFORMANCE If all employees in the competitive area have received ratings of record under a single pattern of summary ratings, the amount of additional credit for RIF purposes is: • 20additional years for “Outstanding” (Level 5), or equivalent • 16additional years for “Exceeds Fully Successful” (Level 4), or equivalent • 12additional years for “Fully Successful” (Level 3), or equivalent • No (0)credit is given for ratings below Level 3
RETENTION FACTOR: CREDIT FOR PERFORMANCE • If employees in the competitive area have ratings of record under more than one pattern of summary levels, the agency shall establish the amount of additional service credit for each level. • Is this negotiable? • This is a permissive subject of bargaining. • (We’ll discuss bargaining later…)
RETENTION FACTOR:Credit for Performance If an employee received fewer than three ratings in the past four years, credit is given on the basis of the value of the actual rating(s) of record, divided by the number of actual ratings. For RIF purposes, any ratings for years an employee is not rated due to being on 100% official time is considered “missing.” Additional credit will be based on whatever ratings of record are available in the previous four years.
RETENTION FACTOR:Credit for Performance An employee who has not received any rating of record during the four-year period shall receive credit for performance based on the modal (most common) rating for the summary level pattern that applies to the employee’s official position of record at the time of the reduction in force.
Credit for Performance: EXAMPLES Examples – Single Rating Pattern Last 3 ratings were 4, 4, 4 Additional credit is 16 years. (16 +16+16=48÷3=16) Last 3 ratings were 4, 5, 4 Additional credit is 18 years. (16+20+16=52÷3=17.3, rounded up =18)
Credit for Performance: EXAMPLES Last 3 ratings were 3, 2, 4 Additional credit is 10 years. 12+0+16=28÷3=17.3, rounded up =18 Only 2 ratings found; 3,4 Additional credit is 14 years 12=16=28÷2=14
Bureau of Important Government Services Special Projects Branch Retention Register Worksheet - EXAMPLE
Bureau of Important Government Services Special Projects Branch Retention Register Worksheet - EXAMPLE
Competition Begins Once retention registers are completed, the agency is almost ready to begin competition.
BEFORE THE COMPETITION Before Competition begins, the agency must first release: • Employees on a specifically limited temp. appointment in that competitive level; • Employees on a term or temp, promotion in that competitive level (return them to permanent position of record); • Employees who have received a written decision of removal for unacceptable performance.
Competition Begins Round 1 Once all non-competing employees are released, employees on the retention register are released in inverse order; the lowest ranking employees are released first.
Competition Continues Round 2: Assignment Rights When an employee is released from a competitive level, the agency must determine if he/she has an assignment right to an available position. If so, the agency must offer the position or an equivalent one, rather than separate or furlough the employee.
Assignment Rights A position being considered for an assignment must be: • In the same competitive area • Last at least three months • Have the same work schedule (e.g., full-time, part-time, intermittent, or seasonal) as the one from which the employee is being released.
Eligibility for assignment To be eligible for a position, the employee must: • Have a performance rating of record of at least “Minimally Successful” (Level 2); and • Be qualified for the position
What Do You Mean, “Qualified”? • Meets OPM qualification standards, including minimum education requirements • Meets selective placement factors established by the agency • Physically qualified, with reasonable accommodations where appropriate • Meets any OPM approved special qualifying condition • Has the capacity, adaptability, and special skills needed to satisfactorily perform the duties of the position without undue interruption. See 5 CFR 351.701 (a)
“Undue Interruption” Defined NOTE: “Undue interruption” generally means that the employee could get up to speed in the new position within 90 days. See 5 CFR 351.203
Round 2 – BUMPING When released from his/her competitive level, an employee may “bump” to a position that is: • Held by an employee in a lower tenure group or in a lower subgroup within the same tenure group; and • Is no more than 3 grades (or appropriate grade intervals) lower than the position from which the employee was released.
Round 2 – BUMPING Examples: A Group I employee may bump a Group II employee. A Group IAD employee may bump a Group IA or IB employee. A Group IIA employee may bump a Group IIB employee.
Round 2 - retreating When an employee is released from his/her competitive level, he/she may “retreat” to a position that is: • Held by an employee with lower retention standing in the same tenure group and subgroup; • Is not more than 3 grades (or appropriate grade intervals) lower than the position from which the employee was released; and • Is the same position, or an essentially identical position, previously held by the released employee as a competing employee in a federal agency (i.e., that position would have been placed in tenure groups I, II, or III).
RETREATING: AN EXAMPLE So… A Group IA GS-12 Accountant could retreat and displace a Group IA GS-9 Accounting Technician. But, that employee could not retreat and displace a Group IB Accounting Technicianwhohas been released from his/her competitive level in a RIF.
Using Vacant Positions If vacant positions are used, bumping and retreating procedures would apply.
Using Vacant Positions Agencies may choose to waive qualifications (other than minimum education requirements) in offering an employee RIF assignment to a vacant position.
Using Vacant Positions A RIF offer of a vacant position may only be: • In the same competitive area • Within 3 grades (or grade intervals) of the employee’s current position.