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2.21.5007    POLICY

(1) If it is necessary to achieve a reduction in the work force, consideration must be given to the programs to be carried out by the agency and the staff structure which, after the reduction, will most expeditiously achieve program objectives.   Accordingly, employees will be retained giving consideration to the importance of the following qualities possessed by the work force: skill and length of continuous service with state government.

(2) Skill means an assessment of qualifications and experience and consideration should be given to any or all of the following:

(a) Qualifications and experience to perform the duties of a specific position which will be retained.

(b) General qualifications and experience beneficial to future achievement of agency goals and objectives.

(c) The performance on specific, related tasks to those required by the position which will be retained.

(d) General performance history.

(3) Skill shall be applied first and only if skill does not differentiate between employees will length of service with state government then be considered.

(4) An employee should be counseled as much in advance of the anticipated action as possible regarding available options and reasons for lay-off.   An employee shall be given a written notice of anticipated lay-off at the time of counseling, which provides a tentative effective date of lay-off.   An employee becomes eligible for benefits provided by the State Employee Protection Act, 2-18-1201 et seq., MCA, at the time the employee receives written notice of anticipated lay-off.

(5) As provided in 2-18-1206, MCA, written notice must be provided to an employee and the employee's collective bargaining agent, if any, at least 60 days prior to a reduction in force when 25 or more employees are affected by the RIF and 14 days notice when fewer than 25 employees are affected. If a lay-off is anticipated to last longer than 15 working days, the employee shall be terminated.

(6) Lay-off may not be used as an alternative to dis-charging an employee for cause or disciplinary purposes.   Unsatisfactory employees should be terminated subsequent to complete and appropriate evaluation, review and documentation.   If an unsatisfactory employee is laid off without appropriate evaluation, review and documentation, the employee must be treated the same as any other laid-off employee.

(7) An employee shall be reinstated to the same position or a position in the same class, as the terms "position" and "class" are defined in 2-18-101, MCA, when such a position becomes vacant in the agency from which the employee was laid off, if the vacancy occurs within one year of the employee's effective date of lay-off.  Employees who have been laid off from the agency shall be offered reinstatement on a "last-out/first-in" basis by skill match within a job classification. Specific reinstatement offers must be made to the employee in writing.  The employee shall accept or reject the reinstatement offer in writing within five working days following receipt of the offer.  If an employee rejects a reinstatement offer, the employee loses all rights to the employment offered, to participate in future internal recruitment, and to benefits provided by the State Employee Protection Act, 2-18-1201 et seq., MCA.  An agency is not required to make subsequent reinstatement offers to the employee.

(8) Acceptance of permanent, seasonal or temporary employment with a state agency does not end the reinstatement right for one year from the effective date of lay-off.

(9) An employee is eligible to be considered as an internal applicant for job vacancies in the agency from which the employee was laid off for one year from the effective date of lay-off.

(10) As provided in 2-18-1201 , et seq., MCA, an employee who is terminated due to reduction in force within an agency and who has not chosen the additional retirement service purchase option described in 19-2-706, MCA, is entitled to:

(a) access to any job retraining and career development programs provided by the state, such as those provided through the service delivery areas dislocated worker programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, provided that the employee begins participating in a program within one year after the elimination of the employee's position;

(b) inclusion in a special job registry from which all agencies may attempt to hire employees prior to seeking applications from the general public. The employee will be listed in the job registry according to the occupational categories. Participation in the job registry is voluntary. The department of administration shall administer the job registry provided for in 2-18-1203 , MCA;

(c) retain all accrued sick leave credits;

(d) retain, cash out or use accrued vacation leave credits to extend the employee's effective date of lay-off. Employees who have been laid off may choose to "bank" their credits with the agency that laid them off until they accept permanent employment in a state agency. However, the employee shall be cashed out when the employee's rights under the State Employee Protection Act end.  The credits are not transferred if an employee accepts seasonal, temporary or short-term employment in a state agency;

(e) relocation expenses as provided in agency policy.  An agency should consult with the service delivery areas dislocated worker programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 prior to approving relocation expenses.

(11) An employee who elects to retain sick leave, vacation leave or both at the time of lay-off may subsequently request the cash out of the leave in writing from the former employing agency.

(12) Implementation of the job registry components of the State Employee Protection Act, 2-18-1201 , et seq., MCA, and other rights and benefits of employees who are reemployed following layoff are found in the recruitment and selection rules, ARM 2.21.3701, et seq. and specifically in ARM 2.21.3704, job registry and reemployment following lay-off.

History: Sec. 2-18-102, MCA; IMP, 2-18-102 and 2-18-1201, MCA; NEW, 1982 MAR p. 478, Eff. 3/12/82; AMD, 1991 MAR p. 433, Eff. 4/12/91; AMD, 1992 MAR p. 2047, Eff. 9/11/92; AMD, 1994 MAR p. 1419, Eff. 5/27/94; AMD, 1996 MAR p. 407, Eff. 2/9/96; AMD, 1997 MAR p. 1447, Eff. 8/19/97; AMD, 2003 MAR p. 1531, Eff. 7/18/03.

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