Human Resources

Separation Policy

Section: Human Resources Policies
Policy Name:

Separation Policy

Policy Owner: Executive Vice President
Responsible University Office: Office of Human Resources
Origination Date: January 2023
Revisions: May 2024
  1. SCOPE OF POLICYThis policy applies to all full and part-time exempt and non-exempt benefitted employees, and part-time hourly employees, except those in positions covered by collective bargaining agreements between the University and the following representatives: AFSCME, Local 439; AFSCME, Local 3472; AAUP, University of Delaware Chapter.
  2. DEFINITIONS
    1. Evaluation Period: Evaluation Period: Exempt and Non-Exempt Staff policy.
    2. Exempt Employee: An employee who is exempt from overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
    3. Manager: The individual responsible for supervision of the employee.
    4. Non-Exempt Employee: An employee who is subject to overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
    5. Notice Period (Voluntary Separation): The period of time between when the employee provides notice they are separating, through the employee’s last day of employment. The notice period may be a working or nonworking period.
    6. Notice Period (Involuntary Separation): The period of time between when the University provides notice of termination, through the employee’s last day of employment. The notice period may be a working or nonworking period at the University’s sole discretion.
    7. Part-Time Hourly Employee: A Student worker or Miscellaneous Wage employee.
    8. Written Notice: An email or other form of written communication.
  3. POLICY STATEMENTEmployment by the University is at-will.  Nothing in this policy changes the at-will status of exempt, non-exempt, and part-time hourly employees.  The University may terminate an employee for any reason at any time with or without cause.

    This policy limits the use of accrued, unused paid leave time during a Notice Period for both a voluntary and an involuntary separation.

  4. POLICY STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES
    1. Voluntary Separations
      1. Voluntary separations include resignation, retirement, or completion of the term of a contract or temporary appointment. An employee may decide to end their employment with the University  at any time by notifying their department manager.
      2. Resignation and Retirement Notice Requirements
        1. Exempt and Non-Exempt Employees
          1. Exempt and non-exempt employees are expected to provide advance notice of at least two (2) weeks when voluntarily separating from employment through resignation or retirement. Longer notice is encouraged when the position requires supervisory or special skills. Failure to provide at least a two (2) week Notice Period may result in the employee being deemed ineligible for reemployment at the University.
          2. Exempt and non-exempt employees are required to provide Written Notice to their manager to indicate their intent to resign or retire. The Written Notice should be dated, signed by the employee, and state the employee’s anticipated last day of employment.
          3. The University reserves the right to relieve employees of their employment responsibilities during their resignation Notice Period, and either take accrued, unused paid leave time or change the Notice Period.  Managers should consult with their HR Partner in such situations.
        2. Part-Time Hourly Employees
          1. Employees should provide written notice to indicate their intent to resign.
          2. Advanced notice of a resignation is encouraged, but not required.
        3.  Managers
          1. Upon receipt of a resignation or retirement Written Notice from an employee, the employee’s manager should acknowledge and accept the resignation, in writing, indicating the date the resignation written notice was received and the employee’s last day of employment.
          2. If after providing verbal notice to a manager, an employee fails to provide a resignation or retirement Written Notice, the employee’s manager should request Written Notice from the employee. In the event Written Notice is still not received, the manager should email the employee to memorialize the notice conversation and include key points of the notice discussion indicating the date the employee provided verbal notice and the employee’s last day of employment.
          3. Managers must notify their HR contact of the resignation or retirement as soon as possible.
      3. Use of accrued, unused paid leave time during the voluntary resignation or retirement notice period
        1. Employees must work through their resignation/retirement Notice Period, including their last day of employment. Use of accrued, unused paid leave time should not be taken during the resignation/retirement Notice Period.
        2. Use of accrued, unused paid leave time during the resignation or retirement Notice Period may be approved under the following circumstances:
          1. The employee is unable to return to work due to an approved leave of absence, such as workers’ compensation, FMLA, paid parental leave, personal leave or sick leave.
          2. If the employee is in good standing, the department may approve use of paid leave time during the notice period as follows:
            1. Up to two weeks during the notice period for a resignation or a retirement.
            2. Supervisors must consult with the Department of Employee & Labor Relations before authorizing the use of any unused, accrued paid leave time during a resignation or retirement notice period in excess of the limits set forth in Section IV.A.3.B.
      4. The employee will be paid out for any accrued, unused vacation time up to the maximum allowed by the Vacation Accrual and Use policy in their final paycheck.
      5. System and One Card accesses will be deactivated as soon as the employee is no longer working.  Retirees may retain a UD email account.
      6. Employees are required to return all UD equipment to their manager on or before their last day of employment. This includes, but is not limited to technology, keys, UDID (except for eligible retirees), cell phones, procurement cards, and any other UD property.
    2. Involuntary Separations
      1. The Department of Employee & Labor Relations must approve any involuntary termination for exempt and non-exempt employees. The Department of Employee & Labor Relations is available for consultation, but is not required to approve, involuntary terminations for part-time hourly employees.
      2. The University may terminate the employment of any individual for any reason or no reason consistent with the guidelines set forth below.
      3. Except in the case of involuntary separation for cause as defined in Sec. IV.B.5  employees may be eligible for a termination Notice Period and/or separation payment. To qualify, employees will be required to sign a general release agreement with the University. The University, at its sole discretion, may opt to have the employee cease work immediately and provide separation pay equivalent to the employee’s salary for the Notice Period instead of allowing them to work during that time.
      4. Involuntary Separation Notice Period
        1. Exempt Employees:
          1. Exempt employees with less than two (2) years of exempt employment, may be terminated upon one (1) months’ notice.
          2. Exempt employees with two (2) years of exempt employment, but less than five (5) years of exempt employment, may be terminated upon two (2) months’ notice.
          3. Exempt employees with (5) years or more of exempt employment, may be terminated upon three (3) months’ notice.
        2. Non-Exempt Employees: The University will provide a non-exempt employee two weeks’ Notice Period.
        3. Part-time hourly employees: There is no Notice Period requirement for part-time hourly employees. They may be provided notice but will not receive any additional compensation beyond the hours worked.
        4. Exempt employees whose salaries are dependent on external sources of funds, such as grants, contracts or overhead from grants or contracts, may be terminated if such funding expires or becomes inadequate, without the above Notice Periods. However, the University will attempt to give such employees notice.
      5. Involuntary Separation for Cause may include, but is not limited to, serious misconduct, an employee’s inability to perform their job duties or their disruptive behavior, poor attendance, unsatisfactory performance, or violation of University policies. Serious misconduct includes, but is not limited to, theft, insubordination (g.,refusal without reason to perform a work assignment), sexual misconduct, falsification of records, or any conduct deemed to be highly disruptive to the normal operation of the University. Employees involuntarily separated for cause are not eligible to receive any Notice Period or severance pay.
    3. Position Elimination (s)
      1. This section of the policy governs employee(s) impacted by a position elimination (sometimes referred to as a “reduction in force” or “layoff”). Examples of circumstances that may result in position eliminations include, but are not limited to, lack of budget funds, changes in staffing priorities, lack of work, reorganization, redesign of work processes, redundancy in roles, excess staffing capacity, or department reorganization.
      2. A position elimination is appropriate when there is no likelihood or expectation that the individual will be recalled because the need for the position is eliminated. If the elimination of one or more positions is considered, the Office of Employee & Labor Relations should be contacted early in the planning stage for assistance. Managers are expected to follow all University guidelines provided by the Department of Employee & Labor Relations. The Department of Employee & Labor Relations may consult with the Office of General Counsel and other University offices during the review.
      3. In some cases, a position elimination may include a severance payment offer contingent upon the signing of a general release agreement with the University. The specific notification, potential severance, and transition details are subject to the University’s specific offerings at the time of the position elimination. Upon approval of the position elimination by the Department of Employee & Labor Relations, a representative will prepare the documents to be given to the affected employee(s).
      4. Position elimination is never appropriate as a substitute for a Manager’s requirements to address performance issues.
      5. This position elimination section applies to the elimination of full time, benefits-eligible exempt and non-exempt employee positions, with the following exceptions:
        1. Exempt employees whose salaries are dependent on external sources of funds, such as grants, contracts or overhead from grants or contracts. See involuntary separation section.
        2. Positions held by employees with term-limited employment appointments or employment contracts with the University.
      6. This section does not apply to employee positions held by temporary employees and Part Time Hourly Employees. Such positions will not receive additional notice or compensation beyond hours worked.
    4. Except in the case of involuntary termination for cause, employees will be paid out for any accrued, unused vacation time up to the maximum allowed by the Vacation Accrual and Use policy.
    5. System and One Card accesses will be deactivated as soon as the employee is no longer working.
    6. Employees are required to return all UD equipment to their manager within seven (7) days of their last day of employment. This includes, but is not limited to, technology, keys, UDID (except for eligible retirees), cell phones, procurement cards, and any other UD property.