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Davis

Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Program allows employees to voluntarily terminate contracts

In order to increase savings, UC Davis has implemented a voluntary separation program, allowing staff to voluntarily reduce their pay and hours worked.

According to a Voluntary Separation Program (VSP) informational document, VSP gives volunteers an opportunity to assist the university in addressing permanent budget reductions. It helps the university avoid additional lay offs.

“It puts the choice of leaving the university in the hands of an employee who may be in a position to end their employment with us voluntarily,” said Karen Hull, associate vice chancellor of Human Resources. “In exchange, they get a severance.”

The program began in February 2011 and will continue through August 2012. Employees who want to leave must submit an application to Human Resources, which approves the actual severance. So far, 30 applications have been submitted and accepted.

“The hitch is that the position has to be eliminated or a reorganization must take place,” Hull said.

Management has to evaluate whether or not the position is too crucial to be eliminated, Hull said.

Because employees can submit applications until August 2012, it is unknown how many more people will volunteer as economic conditions change or how much money will be generated in savings.

According to a University of California newsletter, a similar program is being offered across all UC campuses. The Employee-Initiated Reduction in Time (ERIT) is a program only open to staff employees. It was implemented after the expiration of Staff and Academic Reduction in Time (START) program in 2010. The UCs generated $25.6 million in savings from START.

As a part of START, VSP was offered at UC Davis in 2009. Many of the basic elements were the same, except the period of time when employees can volunteer to leave was much shorter – one month to six weeks instead of several months. A total of 50 people volunteered to end their employment with the university in 2009.

“We saved about $3 million dollars [last time] in reduced staff costs,” Hull said. “In the big scheme of things it’s helpful but it’s one of many strategies.”

AKSHAYA RAMANUJAM can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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