Reduction in Force FAQs
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Sam Wilkins, Director
South Carolina Office
of Human Resources
8301 Parklane Road
Suite A220
Columbia, SC 29223
Phone: (803) 896-5300

INSPECTOR GENERAL'S
FRAUD HOTLINE

(State Agency fraud only)

1-855-SCFRAUD
or
1-855-723-7283



General Information

Q: What are the reasons an agency can implement a RIF?

A: An agency can implement a RIF for one or more of the following reasons:
  • Reorganization (example: outsourcing);
  • Work Shortage (example: automation, declining enrollment);
  • Loss of Funding (example: budget cuts, grant revenue loss);
  • Outsourcing/Privatization (example: contracting with a company for printing services).
Q: What is the difference between a RIF policy and a RIF plan?

A: A RIF policy is the document created to outline the components of a
RIF and the manner in which it is implemented. If an agency determines a RIF is
needed, it develops a RIF plan. The RIF plan must outline why a RIF is being
implemented and must contain information such as the competitive area, the
competitive group, the employee(s) affected by the RIF, and what efforts will
be made to assist them. The agency's RIF plan must include all the mandatory
components of a RIF plan as outlined in the agency's RIF policy.

Q: Who approves the RIF plan?

A: Once completed and approved by agency management, the RIF plan containing all required information must be submitted to the Resources Division for review and approval for procedural correctness. Procedural correctness indicates only that the agency has included the components in the RIF plan as provided by the agency's RIF policy.

Q: Can an agency hire a temporary employee to replace an employee affected
by a RIF or to perform the functions of a position eliminated by a RIF?


A: An agency may not hire a temporary employee to perform the duties of
an employee affected by a RIF. If these duties are required to be performed
within one year of the effective date of the RIF, the agency should reestablish
the position and implement its recall procedure.



Reduction-in-Force Plan Development

Q: What decisions should an agency make prior to developing a RIF plan?

A: The agency should determine the following items prior to developing
the RIF plan: the reason for the RIF, the competitive area(s), the competitive
group(s), and the number of positions in each State class title that are to be
eliminated.

Q: What is a competitive area?

A: The competitive area is the area of the agency impacted by the RIF.
The agency determines the competitive area(s) the RIF will impact. A
competitive area may be the entire agency, a department, a unit, or a
geographical location. The agency should establish a competitive area that is
clearly distinguishable from the staff in other areas and where the interchange
of employees would not be practical.

Q: What is a competitive group?

A: A competitive group may be an established State class title, State
class title series or State class titles that are part of the agency's normal
established career path. An example of a State class title series may be
Auditor I, Auditor II, Auditor III, Auditor IV, Audits Manager I, and Audits
Manager II. An example of the State class titles that are a part of the
agency's normal established career path may be Administrative Assistant,
Communications Coordinator, Program Coordinator II, and Program Manager I.

Q: Does an agency use internal titles or State class titles to determine
competitive groups/classes?


A: The agency must use State class titles when determining competitive
groups or classes.

Q: In what ways may an employee be affected by a RIF?

A: An employee may be affected by a RIF by involuntary separation,
involuntary demotion, reassignment, or a reduction in work hours.

Q: Which employees have RIF rights?

A: Covered employees in State government have RIF rights. A RIF does not
apply to non-covered employees (i.e., probationary employees, temporary
employees, temporary grant employees, and time-limited project employees).
Employees exempted from this provision are listed in S.C. Code of Laws Section
8-17-370.

Q: If an employee is notified of a pending RIF and, prior to the effective
date of the RIF, voluntarily applies for, accepts, and begins a position within
state government or with another employer, does the employee have recall or
reinstatement rights?


A: No, an employee has recall or retention rights only if he is in the
position affected by the RIF on the effective date of the RIF. Agencies are
advised to inform employees of these rights at the time of the notification of
the RIF. If an employee wants to maintain his RIF rights, he should begin the
other job after the effective date of the RIF.

Q: What are retention points and how are they used?

A: Retention points are based on an employee's previous performance
evaluations and continuous State service, as determined by the agency's RIF
policy. The agency calculates retention points for covered employees in the
competitive area(s) and competitive group(s) to be used in determining which
covered employees are to be involuntarily separated, demoted, reassigned, or
have a reduction in work hours. The only exception allowed to adjust retention
points is if the agency's RIF policy has the provision to add points to an
employee's total retention points if the employee is bumping down to compete in
a State class title in a lower band.

Q: What is continuous State service?

A: Continuous State service is service with one or more State agencies
without a break in service.

Q: What are bumping rights and how are they used?

A: A covered employee in a State class title with a higher pay band has the right to displace, or bump, another covered employee in a State class title with a lower pay band (within the competitive area and competitive group) who has accumulated less retention points. Under no circumstances may an employee gain from a RIF. Bumping rights are provided only downward.

Exception: An agency may choose to include in its RIF policy a provision which provides any covered employee affected by a RIF the right to any position within the agency for which the employee has held permanent status in the State class title and which is occupied by a non-covered employee (i.e., probationary employee, temporary employee, temporary grant employee, or time limited project employee), regardless of the competitive area. Additionally, in this circumstance an employee cannot gain from a RIF. Bumping rights are provided only downward and laterally.

Q: If an employee is involuntarily demoted as a result of bumping within a
competitive group comprised of a State class title series or a normal
established career path comprised of State class titles, can the employee
continue to perform former duties of the position in the higher band in the
position with a lower pay band?


A: An employee who was involuntarily demoted as a result of bumping in a
RIF may not continue to perform the duties of the position in the higher pay
band. Should the majority of these duties need to be performed within one year
of the effective date of the RIF, the agency should reestablish the position in
the higher band and implement its recall procedure.

Q: Is an employee with higher retention points always retained over an
employee with lower retention points?


A: No, an employee with a lower number of retention points can be
retained in preference to another employee in the competitive area(s) and
group(s) with a higher number of retention points only when the agency
determines that a Retention of Necessary Qualifications applies.

Q: What is a Retention of Necessary Qualifications?

A: An agency may determine that an employee with higher retention points
will not be able to satisfactorily perform the duties of the job, within a
reasonable training period, based on the lack of knowledge, abilities, skills,
supervisory responsibilities, or necessary experience. In this case, the
employee with lower retention points may be retained in preference to the
employee with higher retention points. The agency must justify and retain
documentation to support the Retention of Necessary Qualifications.


Implementation of a Reduction in Force

Q: How much notice is an agency required to give an employee who is affected by a RIF?

A. A. Generally, the agency must notify an employee affected by a RIF (which has been approved for procedural correctness by HRD) in writing no less than one week prior to the effective date of the RIF. The Office of Human Resources recommends providing notice at least two weeks prior to the effective date.

Q: Is an employee affected by a RIF entitled to see the RIF plan?

A: An employee affected by a RIF has the right to see a copy of the RIF plan.

Q: Is the agency required to give certain information to an employee who is affected by a RIF?

A: The agency's RIF policy specifies what information should be given to an employee affected by a RIF to include: the reason for the RIF, the competitive area(s) and competitive group(s), the benefits to which an employee is entitled, reinstatement rights and recall rights, the manner in which the agency will notify an employee affected by a RIF of any vacancy involving recall rights, and the requirements of S.C. Code of Laws Ann. Section 8-11-185.


Recall and Reinstatement Rights

Q: How is an agency required to help employees affected by a RIF?

A: The agency will notify an employee of any vacancies to which he has
recall rights and will report information about the employee affected by a RIF
to the Human Resources Division.

Q: What are recall rights?

A: If a vacancy occurs within the competitive area which is in the same
State class title as the position the employee held prior to the RIF, the
Agency will recall eligible employees to the position in the inverse order of
the lay off. The Agency will notify the employee in writing of the job offer,
recall rights, and time frame the employee has to respond to the job offer.

Q: Who has recall rights in a RIF and how long does an employee affected by
a RIF have recall rights?


A: An employee affected by a RIF has recall rights to a position which
is re-established in the same State class title as the position the employee
held prior to the RIF within the competitive area for one year from the
effective date of the RIF. If an employee is bumped into a lower pay band, the
employee still has recall rights to the position in the same State class title
with the higher band and competitive area the employee was in prior to the
RIF.

Q: How are an employee's benefits affected by recall?

A: At the time of recall, the agency will reinstate all employee
benefits, including the employee's accumulated sick leave, and will provide the
employee the option of buying back all, some, or none of his annual leave at
the rate it was paid out at the time of the separation.

Q: Can an employee affected by a RIF waive his recall rights?

A: An employee affected by a RIF may voluntarily waive his recall rights
by submitting a written notification to the agency. Additionally, if the
employee does not accept the job offer within the time frame allotted in the
agency's RIF policy, the employee's recall rights are waived.

Q: What are reinstatement rights?

A: Reinstatement rights are the rights of an employee affected by a RIF
to have employee benefits restored if the employee is offered and accepts any
State position which receives benefits. At the time of reinstatement, the
Agency will restore all employee benefits, including the employee's accumulated
sick leave, and will provide the employee the option of buying back all, some,
or none of his annual leave at the rate it was paid out at the time of the
separation. If an employee elects to buy back annual leave, he must purchase
the leave from the agency where he was employed prior to the RIF.

Q: Who has reinstatement rights and how long does an employee have
reinstatement rights?


A: An employee separated by a RIF has reinstatement rights to a position
in State government for one year from the effective date of the RIF. An
employee separated by a RIF may apply for any State job for which he meets the
minimum training and experience requirements. After the employee exercises his
reinstatement rights once, he no longer maintains his reinstatement right
benefits; however he still retains recall rights for the remainder of the year
from the effective date of the RIF.

Q: Is an agency required to post a position if it is reassigning an employee
affected by a RIF to a vacant position?


A: An agency's first responsibility is to place employees affected by a
RIF. Under a RIF, when an employee is reassigned laterally or downward, the
vacancy may not need to be posted. When an agency is placing an employee
affected by a RIF into a position in a higher pay band than the position the
employee held prior to the RIF, the agency should post the position since an
employee may not gain from a RIF.

Q: How are an employee's benefits affected by reinstatement?

A: Should the employee accept a job offer to a State position which
receives benefits, he is entitled to the restoration of employee benefits,
including the employee's accumulated sick leave, and will be provided the
option of buying back all, some, or none of his annual leave at the rate it was
paid out at the time of the separation.

Q: What changes are made to an employee's state hire date, agency service date, and leave accrual date as a result of being separated by a RIF and subsequently recalled or reinstated?

A:

State Hire Date
No Change

Continuous State Service Date
No Change

Agency Service Date
No Change

Leave Accrual Date
No Change

EPMS Review Date
If the employee is recalled or reinstated to a position in the same State class title he held prior to the RIF, the EPMS review date is reestablished six months from the date the employee is recalled or reinstated. If the employee is reinstated into a different State class title in which the employee has not attained permanent status, the employee would serve a six month trial period from the date of reinstatement.

Q: How is leave restored if the employee being reinstated had over 45 days
of annual leave at the time of the RIF?


A: An employee may buy back all, some, or none of his annual leave upon
reinstatement. Therefore, all annual leave in excess of 45 days is restored
ONLY if the employee buys back all of the annual leave which was paid out at
the time of the RIF.

Q: If an employee is reinstated to a position in a State class title with a
lower band than the position the employee held prior to the RIF, does the
employee have recall rights to the State class title with a higher band?


A: If the employee accepts a position in a lower pay band than the one
from which he was separated, he still retains his recall rights to a position
in the same State class title within the competitive area as the position he
held prior to the RIF.


Grievance Rights

Q: Is a RIF grieveable and appealable?

A: A covered employee who is affected by a RIF has the right to file a
grievance to the agency and an appeal to the State Human Resources Director
only if the grievance or appeal is based on improper or inconsistent
application of a RIF policy or plan.

Q: If an employee grieves a RIF, when does the time frame for filing a
grievance begin?


A: Typically, the time frame to file a grievance begins with the
effective date of the RIF, not the date the employee is notified about the
RIF.


Transaction Codes in HRIS

Q: What is the HRIS transaction code an agency enters for a covered employee
who is separated due to a RIF?


A: The transaction code an agency enters for a covered employee
separated due to a RIF is:

* 21 -- Separation due to a RIF

Q: What is the HRIS transaction code an agency enters for a probationary
employee separated at the same time the agency is implementing a RIF?


A: The transaction code an agency enters for a probationary employee
separated due to a RIF is:

* 22 -- Termination in conjunction with a RIF

Q: What are the HRIS transaction codes that are entered for a covered
employee who has been recalled or reinstated due to a RIF?


A: The transaction codes that are entered for a covered employee who has
been recalled or reinstated due to a RIF are:

* 46 -- RIF Recall
* 45 -- RIF Reinstatement

These transaction codes can only be keyed by the Office of Human Resources.

Q: What are the HRIS transaction codes that are entered for a covered
employee who has been demoted or reassigned due to a RIF?


A: The transaction codes that are entered for a covered employee who has
been demoted or reassigned due to a RIF are:

* 47 -- RIF Demotion
* 48 -- RIF Reassignment

These transaction codes can only be keyed by the Human Resources Division.

SCEIS RIF Codes