Update on Organization Redesign: Severance Benefits and Notifications
This morning (Feb. 21), the University’s executive staff finalized details of the enhanced severance package that will be offered to members of the staff and administration whose positions are eliminated as part of the Magis Operational Excellence Organization Redesign initiative.
We are committed to ensuring that our valued coworkers are supported as they transition from the University. The severance package that we have developed — after months of careful planning and thoughtful discussion that included members of the Staff Advisory Committee and Faculty Senate — enhances what is outlined in the University’s existing staff position elimination policy.
We will offer departing staff members 1.5 weeks of severance pay for every year of completed service. That means that a staff member who has completed 10 years of service, for example, is eligible to receive 15 weeks of severance pay. We have also increased the minimum and maximum amounts of severance pay available to six weeks and 45 weeks respectively.
In addition to the severance package, we expect to provide a three-week notice period, during which time, staff members will continue to receive their salary but will not be expected to report to work except as requested by their supervisors to support specific transition-related activities.
During a period of time equal to staff members’ severance pay — 15 weeks for example — departing staff members will have the opportunity to continue their health care coverage through COBRA, paying the same premiums they currently pay, with the University subsidizing the remainder of the cost. After their severance period ends, staff members can continue their coverage at full COBRA premiums.
Any departing staff members or their dependents who are currently enrolled at the University will continue to receive tuition remission until they graduate. We also know that there are staff members who have remained at SLU — sometimes foregoing other opportunities — to take advantage of this benefit in the future. With this in mind, we are extending tuition benefits to longer-serving staff members as follows:
- Departing staff members with 10 or more years of completed service can receive tuition remission if they or their dependents enroll at SLU within the next seven years.
- Departing staff members with 5 to 9 years of completed service can receive tuition remission if they or their dependents enroll at SLU within the next two years.
To support departing staff members as they transition to new opportunities elsewhere, we have engaged an outside firm that will provide job placement services, including help with résumés and job searches. In addition, departing staff members and their dependents will also have access to our Employee Assistance Program, which includes professional counseling and financial and legal assistance, for 180 days.
Leaders will speak personally with each departing staff member to let them know that their position is being eliminated. During those individual conversations, an HR representative will also be on hand to provide more details. Departing staff members will be treated with respect and given time and space to ask questions, gather belongings, and speak with colleagues. We understand that some may wish to return after hours when others have left for the day, and we will accommodate those requests. Leaders will also meet individually with staff members whose positions aren’t being eliminated, but whose responsibilities may be changing.
We expect that all of these conversations will happen on the same day. At this moment, decisions are still not final; however, I will provide you with an update on the timing of these notifications next week. In the meantime, if you have questions about these severance benefits, please contact your unit’s HR consultant. They will be available to answer calls or emails starting tomorrow (Feb. 22).
As we all know, we began the Magis Operational Excellence program to ensure that a SLU education remains within reach for all qualified students and that our University continues to be a strong anchor for the community we have called home for nearly 200 years. Even so, it will be painful to go through this unavoidable portion of the process. Please keep supporting, caring, and praying for each other.
Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.