6 Terminations

In this chapter:

 

6.1 Types of Terminations

6.1.1 Resignation

A resignation occurs when an employee voluntarily ends the employment relationship with the university. Typically, an employee verbally notifies his or her supervisor of the intent to resign. The university requests a letter stating the employee’s intent to resign and the employee’s last day of work. This letter is sent to the Human Resources Office where the information it provides is used to generate a final paycheck. The resignation letter is then placed in the employee’s personnel file. The university appreciates at least a month’s notice of an administrative or support staff member’s resignation.

6.1.2 Involuntary Termination

6.1.2 Involuntary Termination An employee may be involuntarily terminated or “fired” by the university. This could be due to ongoing unacceptable job performance, for unacceptable employee conduct as discussed in Section 5, for misrepresentation or material omission in an employee’s application materials, or for any other reason deemed appropriate by the university. An involuntary termination is recommended by the immediate supervisor but must be approved by his or her supervisor(s), up to and including the vice president or provost, and the director of human resources.

6.1.3 Retirement

The normal or usual retirement age for employees is 65, although it is not mandatory. Employees who terminate employment at age 62 with 15 years of service are also considered retirees. There is no mandatory retirement age for employees.

Staff Emeritus and Administrator Emeritus: The purpose of this award is to honor, recognize and thank longtime administrators and support staff that end their working/professional careers by retiring from university employment.

The Human Resources Office provides names of eligible retiring administrators and support staff to the President’s Executive Leadership Team, and they determine which retirees to recommend to the Executive Committee of the board of trustees. Individuals awarded this designation are generally honored at the employee awards/recognition event near the end of their employment.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Completion of 15 years of employment
  • Employment .75 FTE or above
  • Exemplary Christian character
  • Outstanding performance record
  • Age 62 or older

Benefits and privileges include:

  • Recognition as administrator/staff emeritus
  • University ID card with emeritus status
  • Standing invitation to attend support staff or faculty lunches or all employee lunches
  • Discount at university stores, the same as active employees
  • Tickets/passes to games, plays, and concerts, the same as active employees
  • Invitations to president-hosted events, e.g., open houses
  • Use of university libraries
  • Receipt of campus news publications
  • Access to campus e-mail system, excluding Internet access

6.1.4 Death

The death of an active employee creates a termination status, effective on the date of death. Medical benefits for covered family members continue through the end of the month in which the death occurred. Additionally, covered dependent family members may be eligible for continued coverage through COBRA.

6.2 The Exit Process

6.2.1 Final Pay

The termination date for support staff and administrators, regardless of the type of termination, is generally the employee’s last day of work. Employment status cannot be extended through the use of vacation or sick leave. When a resigning employee gives at least 48 hours’ notice excluding weekends and holidays, the university strives to have an employee’s final paycheck prepared on the last day of work. If less resignation notice is given, the university mails a final paycheck no later than five days following termination, excluding weekends and holidays, unless a regular pay day occurs sooner.

6.2.2 The Check-Out Session

Each departing employee should complete a check-out session with the Human Resources Office. This process includes a checklist for the employee to take to various departments for signatures before turning it in to the Human Resources Office. It ensures the employee:

  • Has completed his or her duties to the satisfaction of the supervisor, removed any personal items from the work area, and returned any university-owned property
  • Has returned all telephone and credit cards
  • Has returned any library materials and has no outstanding fines
  • Has returned his or her parking permit
  • Has returned all university keys to Plant Services
  • Has met with the Human Resources Office to return his or her employee ID card and discuss COBRA options, benefits, and final pay
  • Has expressly given or withheld permission to make the reason for the termination public and, if so, has offered a written statement to be considered for that purpose

After all signatures have been obtained and the form is completed, it should be returned to the Human Resources Office, where it is placed in the employee’s personnel file.

6.2.3 The Exit Interview

The university is very interested in feedback from departing employees. The employee is asked to provide feedback to the university through the use of an exit interview questionnaire. This survey is usually completed in advance of the check-out session and reviewed with the director of human resources or his or her designee during the exit interview.

The questionnaire asks the terminating employee questions pertaining to the reason for termination and what he or she liked/disliked about his or her position and working at the university. It requests feedback about the employee’s supervisor, about communication at the university, and about benefits and pay. It also asks for suggestions regarding the employee’s position and suggestions for improvement about any other facet of the university

Generally, copies of the completed questionnaire are distributed to the employee’s supervisor(s), the vice president or provost, and the president. The original copy is filed in the employee’s personnel file.

6.3 Effect of Termination on Benefits

Regardless of the type of termination, benefits are affected as follows:

Vacation: An employee’s final check should include pay for any unforfeited, earned vacation balance. Vacation is accrued in the month the employee terminates only if an employee works the full month. Vacation may not be used to extend an employee’s period of employment.

Sick leave: The cash value of any earned sick leave is not paid to an employee at termination. Sick leave may not be used to extend an employee’s period of employment.

Holiday pay: If an employee terminates the day before a paid holiday, he or she does not receive holiday pay. If the employee works the day before (or uses vacation) and the day after a holiday, holiday pay is included in the final pay.

Medical insurance: Coverage continues through the end of the month in which termination occurs. It may be continued beyond that through COBRA at the employee’s own expense.

Cash in lieu of insurance: Cash in lieu amounts are paid to employees on the last day of the preceding month for the current month. Therefore, there is no cash-in-lieu amount included with an employee’s final pay since it would have already been received on the preceding regular pay day.

Flexible-spending accounts: No further deposits through the university can be made to an employee’s account(s) after the date of termination. The employee may submit claims up until 90 days after the end of the plan year for expenses incurred on or before the last day of work. An employee with a positive medical flexible-spending account balance as of his or her termination date may elect to continue the flexible-spending account through COBRA on an after-tax basis. Expenses incurred after the termination date are not eligible for reimbursement unless participation is continued through COBRA.

Retirement plan: The employee’s and the university’s contributions to TIAA-CREF end at termination. Contributions are made from the employee’s final pay amount, including vacation pay. If there is enough pay due the employee in his or her final paycheck, any supplemental retirement account reduction is taken as well.

Life and long-term-disability insurance: If covered, coverage continues through the end of the month in which termination occurs. An employee has the option of converting the life insurance to an individual policy at his or her own expense. There is no conversion option for long-term disability insurance.

Tuition remission: If an employee terminates during an academic semester, the benefit will be continued through the end of the semester.

6.3.1 COBRA Coverage at Termination

See Section 4.1.1 Continuation of Medical Coverage through COBRA regarding continuing medical coverage after termination. An employee with a positive medical flexible-spending account balance may continue participation in a medical flexible-spending account for up to 18 months after termination. COBRA coverage can be terminated by the former employee or dependents before the mandatory end of these benefits. Employees or dependents age 65 or older are not eligible for COBRA coverage.

6.3.2 Medicare Supplement HMO Plan

At or following termination, an employee or qualified dependent may be eligible to enroll in the university’s group Medicare Extra plan, which is a supplement to Medicare.

Employees and qualified dependents are eligible if they meet all of the following:

  • They were covered by group medical insurance through the university on the day before the employee terminated employment or they were covered by continued group medical (COBRA) coverage on the day before they became eligible for Medicare
  • They are age 65 and carry both part A and part B of Medicare
  • They live in a county where the insurance company offers this plan
  • They do not have end-stage renal (kidney) disease

In addition, the employee or qualified spouse must enroll within the same 60-day time frame allowed for electing COBRA coverage after termination of employment, or within 30 days of becoming eligible for Medicare. The enrollment application must be completed before the first of the month in which coverage begins. Premiums may increase periodically and are paid by the eligible former employee or qualified dependent.

The university reserves the right to discontinue this plan.