Board Proposal to Change Articles 5 and 12: Layoffs
AU’s proposed changes to the current layoff language would cut:
1. regular AUFA members’ layoff notices by half,
2. term AUFA members’ termination pay by at least half, and
3. permanent academics’ recall rights by 75% and permanent professionals’ recall rights by 87.5%.
These rollbacks make it less expensive for AU to layoff AUFA members. More details on these proposals follow below.
Reduce Termination Notice for Regular Members
At present, if AU lays off a member with a regular appointment, AU must give the member:
12 months of notice (in practice, members have had the option to take pay in lieu of notice), and
1 month of pay per year of service to a maximum of 6 months of salary.
Under these rules, the maximum pay and notice available upon is 18 months. This period of time reflects the difficulty that long-term staff members normally have in securing comparable employment in the event of layoff.
AU wants to cut members’ layoff notice by half, thereby reduce the maximum combined pay and notice by 6 months to 12 months.
This proposal would also give AU the discretion to pay out the notice period out instead of allowing the member to work it out. Paying out the notice period would have (presently) unknown effects upon members’ benefits (e.g., health coverage, pensionable service).
Overall, this proposal means AUFA members with regular appointments would be cheaper to get rid of and would have less time to seek other, comparable employment.
Reduce Termination Pay for Term Members
Some AUFA members are employed on limited term contract. Such contracts have ranged in length from a few months to 5 years. At present, if AU lays off a term member, AU must give the member:
2 months of notice (or pay in lieu of notice),
1 month of salary for each year of service, and
1 month of salary for each unfulfilled contract year to a maximum of 5 months of salary.
AU wants to eliminate its obligation to pay laid-off term members’ 1 month of salary for each year of service and 1 month of salary for each unfulfilled contract year to a maximum of 5 months of salary.
This proposal means that laid-off term AUFA members would be left with nothing more than 2 months of notice.
AUFA members with regular appointments who are laid off have recall rights. Recall rights allow the staff member to receive prior consideration over other applicants if a job for which they are qualified becomes available.
At present, the period of time during which recall rights can be exercised is:
2 years, if a laid off staff member held a probationary appointment, and
4 years, if a laid off staff member held a permanent appointment.
AU wants to cut the recall right periods to:
6 months for professional staff members, and
1 year for academic staff members.
This reduces the recall-right period for all permanent AUFA members by at least 75%. Professional staff members with permanent appointments would see an 87.5% reduction in their recall period. This is one of several proposals AU has made that appear to target professionals for greater rollbacks than academics.
At present, there is no rationale for this proposal. Our experience during the last round of layoffs is that AU struggled meet its obligations under the existing recall rights provisions, which resulted in grievances.
Reduce Length of Recall Rights
The results of our poll (rounded to nearest whole number) were:
1. Do you support reducing the layoff notice period for regular staff to 6 months (a 50% reduction)?
2. Do you support reducing the layoff notice period for term staff to 2 months (a reduction of at least 50%)?
Abstain: 8% *
* Results do not equal 100 due to rounding.
3. Do you support reducing recall rights by 75% for academics and 87.5% for professionals?