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Employment at Smith (Chapter 2)

When Your Employment Ends (Section 214)

Smith College values the contribution that employees make to the successful operation of the college and expects a productive and mutually satisfactory employment relationship with each employee. However, it is understood that neither the employee nor the college is obligated to continue the employment relationship and either may terminate the relationship at any time. Terminations are either voluntary or involuntary.

Voluntary Resignation and Retirement

If you decide to resign or retire from your position, it is helpful to give as much advance notice as possible. Non-exempt employees who resign are expected to give their supervisor at least two weeks' notice; exempt employees who resign are expected to give at least one month's notice.

A written resignation or retirement notice is required, stating the reason of your resignation and last day of work. You will receive a packet of information regarding the termination, continuation, or transfer of your benefits.

Vacation or other paid leave may not be used to extend your official termination date. Any accrued and unused vacation you have earned as of your official termination date will be paid to you.

Retirement: The retirement of an experienced staff member may have an impact on the operation of an office or department. Whenever possible, you are asked to give a minimum of four months' written notice; however, six months to one year's notice would help your department head plan appropriately for the future. An employee who retires from the college at age 60 or older is entitled to a retiree Smith OneCard that provides continued access to certain college facilities and services.

Early retirement: Employees age 62 or older with at least 10 years of service may elect early retirement. Early retirees may be eligible to continue participation in the college's health and dental plans. See Health Insurance for Early Retirees.

Job abandonment: Job abandonment occurs when an employee fails to notify his or her supervisor of the reason for an absence of three consecutive working days. Job abandonment also occurs when an employee fails to return to work when directed to do so, or fails to notify the supervisor of the reason for absence within three consecutive working days after an approved leave of absence or disciplinary suspension. An employee who abandons his or her job will be considered to have voluntarily resigned. Voluntary resignations are not subject to the grievance procedure.

Reinstatement of Previous Service Time: College employees with three or more years of consecutive service who voluntarily resign from the college and are rehired within six months of their termination date may have their sick leave accrual restored, may begin earning vacation time at the rate in effect as of their date of termination, and will not be considered to have an "interruption of service" for benefits such as retirement and tuition. However, sick leave and vacation do not accrue during the period of separation nor is the period of separation considered as time worked for purposes of wage and salary determination.

Involuntary Termination

Discharge: Discharge is termination of employment for reasons including but not limited to unsatisfactory work performance, misconduct, or violation of college policies or rules. Discharge may be preceded by a period of leave without pay pending investigation. Discharge can occur without advance notice.

If a decision is made to terminate your employment for reasons other than misconduct, two weeks of notice or pay in lieu of notice will normally be provided to non-exempt employees and one month of notice to exempt employees. Such notice does not apply to employees terminated due to misconduct or during the orientation and review period. Normally, staff members who are discharged are not eligible for re-employment or for transfer to another position within the college, and may not be eligible for continuation of health and dental insurance benefits under COBRA and may not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Reductions in staff: If reorganization or other operational necessity requires a reduction in staff that results in the elimination of your position, you will be given at least four weeks' notice or pay in lieu of notice. If your position is eliminated and you are unable to transfer to another position at the college, you may be eligible to receive severance benefits.

Severance Pay

Severance pay is available to employees whose positions are eliminated or for those whose employment is terminated to meet college staff reduction objectives. The college may modify or terminate the severance benefits policy at any time without prior notice.

Eligibility: You are eligible for severance pay if, at the time your position is eliminated or your employment is terminated, you:

You are not eligible for severance pay if you work less than half time, if you have a temporary appointment, or if at the time of your appointment the position had a defined termination date.

To receive severance pay you are required to apply for available college positions for which you are qualified. You will not be eligible for severance pay if you transfer to another position at the college within the four-week notice period. Likewise, if you are receiving severance pay, the payments will stop as of the date you return to work.

Notice Period: If your position is to be eliminated or your employment terminated, you will be given at least four weeks of notice prior to your expected termination date. During the notice period you will continue to work and will receive your regular base pay or salary. At the discretion of the college, a combination of notice and pay in lieu of notice may be granted.

Severance Pay Amount: If your employment is being terminated and you are unable to transfer to another college position, you will be eligible for severance pay as follows:

A. If you are otherwise eligible for severance pay under this policy but elect not to submit a valid waiver releasing the college from legal claims arising out of your employment, then you will receive a severance payment equal to two (2) weeks of pay plus accrued and unused vacation and other paid time for which you are eligible.

B. If you elect to submit such a release, then you will receive a severance payment as follows:

Your severance payment will be based on your current base rate and your years of consecutive service dating from your most recent date of hire. Service credit will be given for each academic or fiscal year in which you worked full time in a regular budgeted position. You will be given prorated credit for each year in which you worked half time or more in such a position.

Severance Payment: Your employment and benefits will terminate as of your last day of work. However, you will continue to remain on the payroll and receive severance payments for the appropriate period (2 - 14 weeks) as outlined above. If you are offered another college position, severance payments will stop as of the date you return to work. Severance payments will also stop if you choose not to apply for or accept positions at the college for which you are qualified.

Severance Benefits

Vacation and Other Paid Time: You will receive payment for your accrued and unused vacation and any other paid time for which you are eligible. No additional vacation or other paid time will accrue during the severance payment period.

Retirement Plan: The college will pay retirement contributions on all vacation pay and other paid time for which you are eligible. No retirement contributions will be made on your severance pay.

Health Care Program and Dental Plan: You may continue in the college's group Health Care Program and the Dental Plan for 18 months following your separation from the college by electing COBRA coverage at the time of your termination. Under COBRA you pay the full health and/or dental premium cost plus a 2% administrative fee. Eligibility for participation in the college's group Health Care Program and/or Dental Plan will terminate on the date you become covered under another group health or dental plan.

Life Insurance Plan: You may convert all or part of your group life insurance to an individual policy without providing proof of good health. Please refer to your individual group life insurance certificate for complete details regarding this conversion feature. Long-Term Disability Insurance Plan: Your coverage under the college's group Long-Term Disability Insurance Plan will end on your last day of work. You may be eligible to convert your insurance coverage and become insured under the Hartford Group Long-Term Disability Conversion Policy. You will receive a conversion brochure and an application form at the time your employment at the college ends.

Tuition Assistance: If your child is currently attending another college, Smith College, or the Smith College Campus School at the time your employment ends, any existing tuition grant will be continued for the remainder of the semester.

Loan Repayment: The balance on all outstanding tuition, computer, and other college loans will be immediately due and deducted from your severance payment up to its full value. Any amount still owed will be due immediately.

Second Mortgage Loans and Rental Housing: Any outstanding second mortgage loan balance must normally be repaid within 30 days of termination of employment, with the college offering brief extensions when necessary. Tenants who leave the college for any reason except retirement must vacate college housing within 30 days.

Rehire: After your severance payments cease, you are eligible to apply for available positions for which you qualify based on educational background, skills, and experience. The Office of Human Resources will assist you in identifying positions for which you may be qualified; however, no guarantee of preference is made.

Personal Statement and Benefits Counseling Session: The Office of Human Resources will prepare a personal statement detailing the amount of your severance payment including any accumulated vacation and other paid time to which you may be entitled. The Office of Human Resources will explain the options available to you for continued health and dental benefits, and will provide details concerning the continuation or conversion of any other benefit in which you are currently participating.