Chapter 16: End of Employment
- Exit Interviews
- Permanent Layoff / End of Position
- Severance Policy
- Resignation in Lieu of Discharge
- Death of a Staff Member
- Final Paychecks
- Giving References
- Discontinuation of Swarthmore Accounts
To allow the department time to plan for such a transition with minimal disruption of service, appropriate written notice from you is expected. Non exempt staff are expected to give at least two weeks written notice. Exempt staff are expected to give at least one month written notice. Notice of resignation is expected to be a "working" notice to allow your supervisor an opportunity to spend productive work time with you to complete projects or to have you help train whoever will be assuming your responsibilities. For that reason, it is seldom possible to allow a resignation notice to be taken as vacation time or other paid time off. However, you will be paid for any accrued, unused vacation as part of your final paycheck. There is no payout for sick time.
Failure to give appropriate written working notice may affect your consideration for future employment at Swarthmore.
You will need to schedule an exit interview with Human Resources before your last day. The purpose of the exit interview is twofold. The first purpose is to discuss the status and disposition of your employee benefits and your rights under College policy and state and federal law. Staff members who leave employment and whose employer-sponsored benefits end as a result may be able to continue their insured benefits coverage at their own cost for a defined period, as long as they were not discharged due to gross misconduct. The second purpose is to share with Human Resources any information about your working conditions or experiences in your position that you believe would be helpful for the College to be aware of as it considers selecting your successor. Of course, significant perceived problems in the workplace can and should be brought forward at any time and should not wait until you've made a decision to leave.
On occasion, organizational needs or changes may require existing benefit eligible staff positions to be eliminated. When it becomes necessary to eliminate regular benefit eligible staff positions Swarthmore strives to handle such layoffs in a systematic and consistent way throughout the organization and to help identify opportunities that may be available to the staff that will be affected. If another position is not secured by the individual affected, severance pay may be available (see Severance Policy below).
Layoff procedures and eligibility for severance may be different for benefit eligible staff employed on a limited term basis or who are paid through grants or other externally funded resources.
When an employee is not eligible for severance, we expect departments to give at least as much layoff notice to staff as we expect from staff to give when they resign. At minimum, non‑exempt staff should be given two weeks notice of layoff or position elimination; exempt staff should be given one month. The department may offer comparable pay in lieu of notice. However, any accrued vacation should be paid as part of the final paycheck. There is no payout for sick time.
In the event the College eliminates a full time or part time benefit eligible staff position due to re-organization, financial concerns, changes in programmatic needs or technological developments, severance pay, continuation of health insurance and out-placement assistance will be offered to the affected employee. The program provides a safety net until other employment is found. Two weeks of severance pay is provided for each year of employment, with a minimum of two months and a maximum of twelve months. Payment is made to the employee of all accrued and unused vacation. Severance pay and health insurance benefits continue for the number of months to which the employee is eligible or until new employment is found, whichever occurs first. Payments are made in accord with the College's bi-weekly or monthly payroll schedule.
Employees are provided with all applicable conversion rights for life insurance(s) and long term disability benefits. COBRA notification and conversion rights are provided at the end of the severance payment period for employee health insurance. Retirement plans, which are immediately vested, belong wholly to the employee.
Severance pay is contingent upon the employee signing an agreement and release in a form that is acceptable to the College. In most cases, the employee will have twenty-one days to consider the agreement before signing.
Supervisors should consult with their department head and with Human Resources before discharging a staff member for cause.
Discharge for cause either for failure to meet performance expectations or for misconduct should be documented in accordance with established College guidelines for performance improvement counseling or warnings as appropriate.
Discharge due to performance issues or misconduct may affect consideration for future employment with Swarthmore and COBRA rights.
Once discharge for cause has been established as the appropriate action according to College guidelines, the discharge is effective immediately and there is no provision for severance pay. However, any accrued vacation should be paid as part of the final paycheck. There is no payout for sick time.
Staff members who have been discharged and who believe College policy has not been followed or administered appropriately may appeal the termination through the grievance review process.
At departmental discretion, an individual may be given the option to resign in lieu of discharge for cause. This may be appropriate in situations where the staff member has not been able to meet performance expectations and where no misconduct was involved. In cases of serious misconduct warranting immediate discharge, a resignation option is generally not appropriate.
A staff member who accepts an opportunity to resign in lieu of discharge should do so with the understanding that the grievance review process is not available since that process is intended to review actions taken by a department and a decision to resign is the staff member's own action.
There is no mandatory staff retirement age. As you consider the decision to retire, you should contact Human Resources to discuss benefits related issues. Don't wait until your last few weeks of active work, since some retirement programs take time to set in motion.
To be eligible for retiree benefits, you must have been employed with the College for a minimum of ten (10) years and have attained age 60 as of the time of your retirement. A retiree health benefit program is available for staff members and their spouses or domestic partners.
A retiree of the College and their spouse, domestic partner, and children over age 15 are eligible to use the College athletic facilities. Please refer to Chapter Two, page 2-2 for details on how to obtain an ID card.
As part of your final paycheck upon retirement, you will be paid for any accrued vacation.
If you are a hiring supervisor and you have been notified of the death of a staff member, please contact Human Resources for assistance and to report the death for purposes of benefits administration. It will be helpful if you can provide the name, phone number, and address of a close relative or other contact since staff members sometimes have not kept beneficiary and emergency contact information updated in their central records.
In general, the estate of the individual should receive the final paycheck, which should reflect any accrued vacation.
Final paychecks for staff members who are ending employment should be available at the next regular payday. If the terminating staff member has items that belong to the College or has an outstanding financial obligation to Swarthmore that was incurred in their role as a staff member of the College, the actual cash value of such items or financial obligation may be withheld from final pay, pending return of the items or payment of the obligation.
At the end of employment you will be paid for any accrued, unused vacation as part of your final paycheck. Your last day worked is considered your termination date. Payout of vacation does not extend your employment date for purposes of benefits eligibility. There is no payment for unused sick time.
Staff members who are leaving the College sometimes ask supervisors or others for work references. The Human Resources Office verifies only dates of employment and does not release or verify any performance information, reasons for discharge, or rehire consideration.
Supervisors who are comfortable doing so may make positive work recommendations or give positive references about a terminating or former staff member. Supervisors who do not wish to offer reference information should direct inquiries to HR for employment verification only.
Following a separation of employment, the College will cancel access to computer programs, network accounts and to the computer assigned to the individual on the employee's last day worked. The employee is responsible for removing any personal data from computers and/or network drives (i.e. Swatfiles). Supervisors may request access to any accounts or files for up to 30 days after the employee's last date worked. Employee access to any accounts or files must be requested (by email) by the senior staff member responsible. In addition, the departmental supervisor may request departmental access to the employee's Swarthmore email account, network folders and computer hard drive for business related purposes.