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ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY
Home : Human Resources : Departure

Early and Select Appointment Terminations for Academic Professional and Administrative Employees

Effective Date: March 2007
Last Update: October 2012
Responsible University Officer:
  • Vice President for Human Resources
Policy Owner:
  • Director, Employee Relations and Compensation
Policy Contact:

Printed on: . Please go to http://policy.umn.edu for the most current version of the Policy or related document.

POLICY STATEMENT

The University honors academic professional and academic administrative (P&A) employee (93xx, 96xx, 97xx) appointments through the official end date of the employment contract unless the employee has agreed to an earlier end to the appointment or a ground for early termination by the University exists as outlined in this policy. Employees holding select appointments that provide for different termination provisions may have their appointment terminated immediately or with required notice pursuant to this policy. Early or select appointment terminations are different from the non-renewal of an appointment which provides employees the opportunity to work through the end of their employment contract.

The University at its initiation also may enter into a severance agreement with P&A employees who agree to end their appointment early or under circumstances of ending a type of appointment as described under Select Appointment-Related Terminations. Senior leaders are excluded from coverage under the severance provisions of this policy.

Early Terminations

The University may terminate an academic professional and administrative (P&A) employee (93xx, 96x, 97xx) appointment prior to the employment contract's official end date without the employee's agreement for any one of the following three reasons: 1) fiscal emergency, 2) program curtailment, or 3) just cause sanction.

  1. Fiscal Emergency: Fiscal emergency is a drastic reduction in University budget that has been officially recognized and declared by the Board of Regents.
  2. Program Curtailment: Program curtailment is the elimination, reduction, modification, or redirection of an academic program or service or in a non-academic program or service that is recognized by the senior administrator of the campus, college, or administrative unit.
  3. Just Cause Sanction: Early termination sanction may be imposed as a disciplinary sanction based on just cause. Just cause involves reasonableness, evidence of forewarning, investigation, proof, consistency, and equity. Just cause termination of the employment contract is grievable.
Select Appointment-Related Terminations
  1. Termination of a Continuous (G) Professional Appointment:
    An academic professional (97xx; 9621-9630) in a continuous (G) appointment may be terminated for the three reasons cited. Continuous academic professional employees have a twelve month notice of termination or comparable severance regardless of years of service when terminated for reasons of fiscal emergency or program curtailment, unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary.
  2. Termination of Acting/Interim (M) and Limited (L) Administrative Appointments:
    Employees holding an acting/interim (M) academic administrative appointment may have their position terminated at any time, including when the position is filled on a permanent basis. Employees holding a limited (L) academic administrative appointment may have their appointment terminated at any time regardless of any end date specified in their Notice of Appointment. Termination from acting/interim or limited academic administrative appointments is not grievable.
Institution-Initiated Severance Agreements

Severance Agreement
Under exceptional circumstances, and with the approval of the president or delegate and the vice president for human resources (VPHR) in accord with the guidelines set forth in this policy, the University at its initiation may enter into a mutually agreed upon severance agreement with a P&A employee in exchange for the early termination of the appointment. There is no entitlement to such agreements. In all cases, the employee will terminate employment as of the date of the agreement and must release all claims against the University arising out of employment.  Those individuals in senior leadership positions are excluded from coverage under the severance provisions as described in this policy.

Implementation of a Severance Agreement
A severance agreement may be initiated and implemented by the University according to the following guidelines:

  1. A severance agreement may be entered into with academic professionals or academic administrators holding an annually renewable (K), multiple year (J) contract. Employees must also be holding a 67 to 100 percent time position and an appointment term of nine months or greater. Factors to consider in entering into a proposed severance agreement include cost to the University, advantages to the University in replacement of the employee, advantages to the University in minimizing disruption to the unit, and the overall interests of the University.

    The severance amount may not exceed the amount of salary, retirement, and health care contributions the University would have paid to the employee while working out a notice period for non-renewal of appointment. With these limitations, a lump sum may include cash equivalents of the employee's salary, the University’s contribution to the employee’s Faculty Retirement Program account, and University contribution to the employee's health care (medical and dental) coverage in effect at the time of the severance agreement. The president may approve exceptions.

  2. The responsible administrator has the discretion to offer high-level leaders on a Limited (L) appointment, who do not fall under the definition of senior leaders, a severance agreement when (1) the individual is being asked to leave before the end of their current appointment year or (2) the individual is leaving during a change in University presidents or other senior administrators. This provision does not apply to other high-level leaders on L appointment who also hold tenured faculty or continuous academic professional positions at the University.

    The University may enter into a severance agreement that provides a severance amount that may not exceed the equivalent of six months of salary and retirement, and up to eighteen months of health care contributions. In determining the number of months of severance payment, the University will consider years of service in the current or other senior positions at the University, the individual's overall record of performance during that time, whether the individual has been given the option to stay until the end of the normal appointment year or longer, and any other equitable factors. A lump sum may include cash equivalents of the (1) employee’s salary, (2) the University’s contribution to the employee’s Faculty Retirement Program account equal to the number of months of salary, and (3) University contribution up to eighteen months towards the employee's health care (medical and dental) coverage in effect at the time of the severance agreement. The president may approve exceptions.

    A severance agreement may not be entered into if the administrator is terminated for just cause or has a contract providing for different severance terms.

  3. When the University initiates an early termination for individuals holding an academic administrative appointment other than a senior leader appointment, and who also hold a tenured faculty or continuous academic professional appointment, consideration is given first to granting the affected employee an appropriate professional development leave, depending on eligibility. If employees choose not to remain at the University, thus relinquishing their tenured or continuous appointment, a severance agreement may be considered.
  4. The president will consult with the chair of the Board of Regents in cases of unusual importance.

REASON FOR POLICY

The University provides for early termination of individual P&A appointments due to rare and exceptional circumstances and provides for termination of select appointment types as set forth in this policy.

PROCEDURES

FORMS/INSTRUCTIONS

APPENDICES

There are no appendices associated with this policy.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. Under the circumstance of termination for fiscal emergency or program curtailment, are P&A employees holding probationary (H) academic professional type appointments accorded (1) termination provisions as provided for other P&A employees on annually renewable (K) or multiple year (J) contracts, or (2) termination provisions accorded continuous (G) academic professional appointments?

    Academic professional employees holding a probationary (H) appointment are provided the same provisions under circumstances of fiscal emergency or program curtailment as other P&A employees holding annually renewable (K) or multiple year (J) appointments.

  2. In the situation of termination for program curtailment, may P&A employees be accorded the provisions under the Administrative Policy: Non-Renewal Program for Academic Professional and Administrative Employees if all eligibility requirements are met and if the program is consistently applied across the affected program area?

    Yes, the non-renewal program for P&A employees may be implemented during a time of program curtailment. Refer to the policy for an understanding of the provisions.

  3. If academic professionals with a continuous (G) appointment are terminated from their appointment due to program curtailment as defined in this policy, and offered another position within the same campus, college, or administrative unit, with the new or vacant position being defined as an annual renewable (K) or multiple year (J) appointment, would the employee be allowed to keep their continuous (G) appointment status in the new position?

    No. If the employee opts to be hired into the new/vacant position, the terms of the new position would apply.

  4. What does seniority mean under the circumstance of program curtailment?

    Under the circumstance of program curtailment and within academic professional appointments, seniority means first, the holding of a continuous (G) academic professional appointment and second the length of continuous employment in a P&A class as defined in this policy and within an appointment classification or classification series if one exists, such as the librarian series (9715 Assistant Librarian, 9714 Associate Librarian, and 9713 Librarian). Within academic administrative appointments, seniority means the length of continuous employment in a P&A class as defined in this policy and within an appointment classification or series if one exists, such as the departmental director series (9339 Assistant Departmental Director, 9338 Departmental Director, 9337 Departmental Director).

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS

Subject
Contact
Phone
Fax/Email
General Information or Procedural Assistance
  • Primary: Responsible administrator/supervisor
  • Secondary: Local campus, college, or administrative unit HR administrator
  • Other (as needed): Office of Human Resources specialist or consultant
Legal Information
  • Office of the General Counsel
612-624-4100
Document Processing
  • HRMS Key Contact
  • Office of Human Resources Call Center

DEFINITIONS

Academic Program
Undergraduate, graduate, and professional credit-bearing degrees, majors, minors, free-standing minors, and certificates that may appear on official University transcripts.
Early Termination
The ending or concluding of an employment contract prior to the end date in the employee's Notice of Appointment, or where a special contract is authorized to supersede the Notice of Appointment, the end date in the special contract.
Employment Contract
The Notice of Appointment that is the record governing employment by the University including dates of employment, salary, and terms. The Notice of Appointment constitutes the University's contract with an employee. With the exception of special contracts authorized to supersede the Notice of Appointment, to the extent a letter of agreement contradicts the Notice of Appointment or University policy, it does not constitute the terms of employment.
Fiscal Emergency
A drastic reduction in the University budget that has been officially recognized and declared by the Board of Regents.
Just Cause
A ground for discipline and takes into account reasonableness, evidence of forewarning, investigation, proof, consistency, and equity.
Non-academic Programs
Those programs that do not fall under the definition of academic programs, the program outcomes of which do not appear on a transcript. Non-academic programs recognized as such by the senior administrator of the unit, may be named as centers, institutes, programs, services, etc. and are managed out of campus, college, or administrative units.
Non-renewal
An action of informing an employee that their employment contract will not continue in effect beyond the end date on their Notice of Appointment.
Program Curtailment
The discontinuance, reduction, modification or redirection of an academic program or service or a non-academic program or service recognized by the senior administrative unit head (e.g., dean, chancellor, vice president) of a campus, college or administrative unit.
Select Appointments
Appointments that are, for purposes of this policy, ones that have different termination provisions.
Senior Leader
Individuals specified as senior leaders in Board of Regents Policy: Reservation and Delegation of Authority. This includes senior vice presidents, chancellors, vice presidents, provost, general counsel, University librarian, the director of audits, deans (on all campuses), athletic director (Twin Cities), and others as directed by the Board, to include the Executive Director and Corporate Secretary, Board of Regents and the Chief of Staff, Office of the President.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Fiscal Emergency and Program Curtailment

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) Director and EOAA Liaison
  • Consults with the responsible administrator on issues of diversity and discrimination in situations of fiscal emergency or program curtailment when significant numbers of P&A employees will be adversely affected.
Responsible Administrator
  • Consults with the unit human resource administrator, Office of Human Resources (OHR) consultant, unit EOAA liaison, EOAA director, and the VPHR as appropriate to the situation and as it impacts P&A employees.
  • Obtains approvals in accord with the procedures outlined in this policy.
  • Provides to the affected P&A employees written notice of termination.
Unit Human Resource Administrator/OHR Consultant
  • Consults with the responsible administrator on policy interpretation and workforce related issues including both non-renewals and terminations of appointments as a result of fiscal emergency or program curtailment.
Vice President for Human Resources (VPHR)
  • Consults with the responsible administrator on issues of early termination related to fiscal emergency and program curtailment in cases where significant numbers of P&A employees will be adversely affected.
  • Approves early terminations of P&A appointments.
Senior Leader of the Campus, College, or Administrative Unit
  • Reviews and approves P&A appointments that are to be terminated for purposes of fiscal emergency.

Just Cause Sanction

Office of the General Counsel (OGC)
  • Consults with the responsible administrator regarding performance issues which could lead to disciplinary action and/or just cause termination.
Responsible Administrator
  • Consults with the unit human resource administrator, OHR consultant and/or OGC as appropriate to the situation when performance issues could lead to disciplinary action and/or just cause termination.
  • Manages the investigative and decision-making process and maintains appropriate communications with the employee and others who should be aware of the situation; seeks help from appropriate resources when needed.
  • Determines if the affected P&A employee should continue with their normal duties or not and proceeds accordingly.
  • Consults with appropriate parties in accord with the procedures outlined in this policy before making the final decision to implement a just cause termination.
  • Provides written notification of termination for reasons of just cause.
Unit Human Resource Administrator/OHR Consultant
  • Consults with the responsible administrator regarding performance issues which could lead to disciplinary action and/or just cause termination.
Affected P&A Employee
  • Continues to carry out work unless other provisions are made.
  • Responds at appropriate times and as desired to allegations and results of the investigation.

Severance Agreements

Office of the General Counsel
  • Consults with the president/delegate or other responsible administrator in accord with the procedures and at such time a severance agreement is being considered.
  • Assists with language to be incorporated into the agreement and provides final approval of the language in the document.
President/Delegate or Other Responsible Administrator
  • Consults with others such as the VPHR or the EOAA director as appropriate to the circumstances.
  • Determines final details of a severance agreement involving all appropriate individuals and following through with appropriate reviews of the final document.
  • Obtains approvals in accord with the situation and the procedures outlined in this policy.
Unit Human Resource Administrator/OHR Consultant
  • Consults with the responsible administrator regarding consideration of entering into a severance agreement.
Vice President for Human Resources
  • Consults with the parties involved in consideration of entering into a severance agreement as described in this policy.
  • Reviews and approves the offering of a severance agreement and the terms of the agreement.
Employee Benefits
  • Affirms the accuracy of the severance payment calculations.
Affected P&A Employee
  • Signs the severance agreement and relinquishes all future claims to the University regarding this action.

RELATED INFORMATION

HISTORY

Amended:
October 2012 - Excluded senior leadership positions from coverage under the Severance Agreements section of policy.
Amended:
March 2011 - Added language to reflect the option of offering a severance agreement to an L appointment administrator when the person is leaving during a change in U presidents or other senior administrators.
Amended:
March 2009 - Language updated to reflect the severance amount to include the cash equivalents of the employee’s salary, the University’s contribution to the employee’s Faculty Retirement Program (FRP) account, and University contribution to the employee’s health care. Previously the contribution to FRP was given on a pre-tax basis. Changes in IRS regulations no longer make the pre-tax contribution possible under such situations. Minor edits were also made.
Amended:
May 2008 - Policy converted to the new University-wide format for administrative policies.
Amended:
May 2007 - Early termination of appointment policy information was drawn from the Academic Professional and Administrative Policy and Procedures Manual (Issued February 1984); the Administrative policy: Severance for Academic Professional and Administrative Employees, adopted January 12, 1990 as a Board of Regents Policy and moved to an administrative policy, March 9, 2007; and the Administrative policy: Severance for Senior Administrators on Limited (L) Appointments, adopted August 13, 1999. Procedures and required approvals have been clarified and formalized. Edits were made and information updated and expanded. Policy information was put into standard University-wide policy format.
Adopted:
August 13, 1999 - Administrative policy: Severance for Senior Administrators on Limited (L) Appointments.
Adopted:
January 12, 1990 - Created by the Board of Regents and moved to Administrative policy, March 9, 2007: Severance for Academic Professional and Administrative Employees.
Adopted:
1984 - Early termination policy language included in the Academic Professional and Administrative Staff Policy and Procedures Manual.
Effective:
March 2007

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Last modified on February 6, 2014