VERA VSIP RIF PROCESS
For STATESIDE SCHOOLS
We continue to receive questions about excessing and RIF procedures for DDESS educators. Unfortunately, the agency has been slow to share information during this time of uncertainty for many of our members. Below is guidance that was developed by the agency on the VERA/VSIP and RIF processes (with an updated VSIP amount for this school year). The purpose of this guidance is to ensure transparency in identifying excessed employees, offering of VERA/VSIP, and/or RIF’s procedures if needed.
Reduction-In-Force (RIF) and Related Processes
When it becomes necessary to reduce the existing workforce, Reduction in Force is the formal method of doing so. However, conducting a formal RIF and involuntarily separating employees will only be done if other methods, including voluntary actions, do not achieve the required reductions.
The two primary methods for voluntarily reducing the workforce are:
• Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) and
• Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay (VSIP)
VERA authority grants a temporary lowering of the normal age and service requirements for a voluntary retirement. The intent is to increase the number of employees who are eligible for retirement.
To be eligible for VERA, the employee must meet the following conditions:
• Be serving on a permanent appointment
• Have been continuously employed by the Department of Defense (DoD) for more than 30 days
• Not be in receipt of a final removal decision based upon misconduct or unacceptable performance
• Meet the age and service requirements for a VERA (any age with 25 years or more of creditable service or age 50 with 20 years or more of creditable service)
• Not be retiring as a result of declining a transfer of function, directed reassignment, or other management-initiated relocation outside the commuting area
Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employees who are granted VERA will have an age reduction of 2% for each year they are under age 55. There is no age reduction for employees covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
An employee voluntarily requesting to retire under VERA must select a date to retire no earlier than the end of the current school year or no later than the established RIF effective date.
In addition to VERA, an Agency may receive authority to offer a monetary incentive (VSIP) to employees who voluntarily request to separate through resignation, optional (full) retirement, or early retirement (VERA).
As with an offer of VERA the intent is to reduce or eliminate adverse actions and avoid involuntary separations.
Employees are not forced to apply for or accept VERA or VSIP.
To be eligible for VSIP, the employee must meet the following conditions:
— Be on permanent appointment
— Employed by DoD for the last 12 months
An employee is Ineligible for VSIP if he/she is:
— On temporary appointment
— In receipt of final removal decision for unsatisfactory performance or misconduct
— Has received RIF separation notice
— Is eligible for disability retirement
— Has previously received VSIP payment
The VSIP payment is limited to a maximum of $40,000or the amount of severance pay you would receive under the standard formula used to compute severance pay, whichever is less. It may be paid in a lump sum or installments, but VSIP is taxable regardless of the payment option you choose.
If you meet VERA and/or VSIP requirements and are in a position that has been declared excess or are occupying a position that if vacated, would clearly result in the placement of an excess employee and are approved, you will receive a formal offer of VERA and/or VSIP. If there are more volunteers than are needed, Service Computation Date (SCD) will be used to determine who receives the offer. The employee with the most senior SCD would get the offer.
In addition to the above voluntary methods for achieving necessary reductions, the Agency will also utilize vacant and temporary positions to achieve necessary reductions and/or retain permanent employees.
Specifically, permanent positions occupied by temporary employees and actual position vacancies are listed at the bottom of each competitive level(Band)on the retention register and vacant positions are abolished and/or temporary employees are released when necessary to retain permanent employees withinthe Band. For example, if there is a need to reduce two positions in a Band and there are two vacant positions in the Band, the two vacant positions will be abolished and the need for a RIF in that particular Band is eliminated. If there is a need to reduce two positions in a Band and there are two temporary employees in the Band, the two temporary employees will be released and the need for a RIF in that particular Band is eliminated. Vacancies are utilized first.
If after each of the above processes has been completed, it is determined that the necessary reductions have been achieved, then the need for RIF is eliminated and no RIF will occur. If there are Competitive Levels (Bands) in which there remains the need to reduce positions, a formal RIF will be conducted.
Prior to any formal RIF, employees in Competitive Levels (Bands) that will be impacted will be provided with “Personal Data Sheets” indicating specific information pertaining to the employee that will be used in the RIF. Employees will be given an opportunity to review/verify and/or correct any information that is incorrect prior to the RIF. In addition, employees may also indicate whether or not they are mobile and willing to move if no placement opportunity is available in their local area. Employees may indicate specific locations for which they are interested.
Employees compete in RIF only in the Competitive Level (Band) that is their permanent position of record. It matters not what “other” positions an employee may be qualified/certified for. This is important as we move into the “Placement” phase of the process as the more positions an individual is qualified/certified for, the greater the chance of finding a placement opportunity for the individual.
The following Factors impact employees’ retention standing in the Competitive Level (Band):
• Tenure Group
I — Permanent/Career
II — Permanent Conditional/Career Conditional
III — Indefinite/Term
• Veterans Preference Subgroup
AD – Compensable 30% or more disabled veteran
A – All other veterans preference eligibles
B — Those not entitled to veterans preference
• RIF Service Computation Date (SCD)
Adjusted by performance credit
Retention standing (seniority) from highest standing to lowest is as follows:
IAD – Career 30% or more disabled veterans
IA – Career veterans preference eligibles
IB – Career non-preference eligible
IIAD – Conditional 30% or more disabled veterans
IIA – Conditional veterans preference eligibles
IIB – Conditional non-preference eligible
IIIAD — Term/indefinite 30% disabled veterans
IIIA — Term/indefinite veterans preference eligibles
IIIB — Term/ indefinite non-preference
Within tenure subgroup, retention order is by RIF SCD
During the placement phase (after RIF has been run) remaining excess employees are placed on a “placement” list in RIF SCD order. Beginning with the employee with the most senior SCD the Agency attempts to find a vacancy in which to place the employee. All areas in which the employee is qualified/certified are considered during this placement process.
Permanent positions occupied by temporary employees and remaining vacancies in any competitive levelare reviewed against employees on a placement list; temporary employees are released from positions that can be used to place qualified/certified employees who have been released from their competitive level.
If, after the placement phase is complete, there are still excess employees who cannot be placed, formal “Specific” RIF notices will be issued to the impacted employees.
For those employees who have indicated that they may be mobile and willing to move, potential placement opportunities will be sought in those locales that the employee has indicated a willingness to move.
Remaining excess employees are placed on a DDESS Re-employment Priority List (RPL). Employees will remain on the RPL for a maximum of two years. When a new vacancy occurs, the RPL is checked for a possible match prior to any other candidate being considered for the position. If an employee on the RPL matches the new vacancy, he/she will be offered the position.
SUMMARY OF RIF PROCESS
• STEP 1: Identify positions being abolished
• STEP 2: Offer VERA/VSIP if authorized
• STEP 3: Displace lowest-standing employee in the competitive level (Band) of each abolished position
• STEP 4: Create Placement List
• STEP 5: Offer vacant positions to qualified employees released from competitive level
• STEP 6: Terminate temporary employees, if necessary, to place qualified permanent employees
• STEP 7: Issue specific RIF notices to employees
• STEP 8: Continue to make placements where possible