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Termination of Employment Policy

Policy Statement

This policy is intended to provide direction to departments and employees when a decision is made by either party to end the employment relationship.

 

Application

This policy applies to management and non-management/non-bargaining unit employees. Bargaining unit employees should also consult their respective collective agreement and the provisions of the collective agreement shall prevail.


Definitions

Continuous Service:
Unbroken service within a Government department, agency, board or commission from which an employee has accrued pension credits in one of government's pension plans, including GMPP.

Contractual employee:
An individual employed for a defined period of time for the purpose of performing specified work and whose terms and conditions of employment are specifically stated in a written contract.

Effective Date of Termination:
The date of the letter of termination for employees terminated with cause. For employees terminated without cause, the earlier of: (1) the last day of the notice period, (2) the last date of salary continuance, or (3) the date the Deputy Minister approves pay in lieu of notice as a lump sum payment.

Employee:
Individuals employed in Government Departments, including permanent, temporary, contractual, or seasonal employees, whether employed on a full-time or part-time basis.

Employer:
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, as represented by Treasury Board, which is a committee of the Executive Council responsible for all matters relating to the personnel management in the public service.

Notice Period:
Number of weeks notice of termination of employment given to an employee based on age and years of continuous service, and calculated in accordance with the Notice Period Table in this policy.

Pay in Lieu of Notice:
Payment made to employees, based on age and years of continuous service, where it is decided that the employee will leave the workplace rather than work during the notice period.

Permanent Employee:
An employee who has successfully completed the probationary period and is employed to hold office without reference to any defined term of service.

Personal File:
The official employer file that contains information relevant to individual employees and their employment. There is only one personal file.

Probationary Employee:
An employee who is participating in a probationary period. The position could be the employee's initial appointment or a position obtained subsequent to his/her initial appointment.

Progressive Discipline:
An increase in severity of disciplinary measures to correct behaviours and to improve an employee's performance and/or conduct to meet the employer's expected standards. The measures may be verbal or written reprimands, suspension or termination. Serious offences may result in immediate suspension or termination.

Resignation:
Written notification from an employee advising of the termination of the employment relationship.

Temporary employee:
An employee who has completed the probationary period and is employed in a temporary capacity, not being a contractual employee. A temporary employee is employed for a specific period or for the purpose of performing certain specified work and whose employment may be terminated at the end of the period or upon completion of the work.

Termination with cause:
The termination of the employment relationship, at the direction of the employer, related to an action(s) or omission(s) by the employee that has irreparably damaged the relationship between the employer and employee.

Termination without cause:
The termination of the employment relationship, at the direction of the employer, for reasons that are not related to cause.

Unbroken Service:
The number of years of service from which an employee has accrued pension credits within a Government of Newfoundland and Labrador department, agency, board or commission without a break of 30 or more calendar days, unless authorized by another HR Policy such as the Special Leave Without Pay Policy or the Deferred Salary Leave Plan.

 

Responsibilities

Employees

It is the responsibility of employees to:

  • provide the employer with the appropriate period of written notice of his/her resignation as specified in this policy;

  • seek information from the Human Resource Secretariat, about the benefits which may be due at termination, such as accrued severance, leave entitlements, group insurance and any applicable pension benefits. Any discrepancies in benefits owing, or paid, should be immediately reported to the Compensation & Benefits Division; and

if terminated without cause,

  • work their notice period unless the employee receives pay in lieu of notice for the entirety, or a portion, of the notice period. An employee who fails or refuses, for reasons unacceptable to the department, to work a notice period, or a portion of a notice period, will have their entitlement to notice and/or pay in lieu of notice correspondingly reduced; and

  • if desired, submit a request, in writing, to the Deputy Minister for pay in lieu in the form of a lump sum payment.

Managers

It is the responsibility of Managers to:

  • administer progressive discipline in consultation with the Human Resource Secretariat;

  • comply with collective agreement provisions for bargaining unit employees;

  • support the department in obtaining Cabinet approval when permanent employees are terminated without cause; and

  • consult with the Human Resource Secretariat regarding termination matters.

Departments

It is the responsibility of the Deputy Ministers or their designate to:

  • consult with the Human Resource Secretariat to discuss the appropriate course of action and notify employees in writing that their employment is terminated, the effective date of the termination, and the reason for the termination; and

if terminated without cause,

  • obtain Cabinet approval to terminate employment; and

  • make a decision on whether working notice, pay in lieu of notice or a combination of working notice and pay in lieu of notice is warranted.

Human Resource Secretariat

It is the responsibility of the Human Resource Secretariat to:

  • provide support to departments in assessing termination of employment with or without cause;

  • consult with the Collective Bargaining Division and the Department of Justice and Public Safety regarding applicable legal and collective agreement implications;

  • provide support to departments in preparing written documentation  to employees related to termination of employment; forwarding copies of documentation to the Compensation and Benefits Division for required payroll and benefits processing and inclusion in the employee's personal file; and

  • provide employees with information about the applicable accrued benefits due at termination, such as leave entitlements and severance (if applicable), and direct employees to the appropriate HRS Division to address specific questions concerning insurance and/or pension issues, including, for example, benefits, options, etc;

  • review and revise this Policy as appropriate; and

  • provide policy interpretations and advice to departments when required.


Termination with Cause

The employer's decision to terminate employment with cause will follow the principles of progressive discipline. Serious offences may result in immediate termination.

The employer is required to provide the employee with written notification of termination. The employee is entitled to receive any salary, paid leave, overtime pay and severance pay accrued up to the date of termination.

Permanent Employees

The employment of a permanent employee may be terminated with cause by the Deputy Minister, in consultation with the Human Resource Secretariat and the Department of Justice and Public Safety. Departments must inform their Minister of the termination of permanent employees.

Employees who are on temporary assignment but who hold a permanent position may be terminated from the temporary assignment and from their permanent position depending on the circumstances of the termination.

Temporary Employees

The employment of a temporary employee may be terminated with cause by the Deputy Minister, in consultation with the Human Resource Secretariat and the Department of Justice and Public Safety.

Contractual Employees

The termination of employment of a contractual employee will be in accordance with the employment contract and in consultation with the Human Resource Secretariat and the Department of Justice and Public Safety.

 

Termination without Cause

The employer may terminate the employment relationship for reasons that are not related to cause. Termination without cause is not the same as situations involving position elimination. Please refer to the Position Elimination Policy.

Permanent and Temporary Employees

Departments must consult with the Human Resource Secretariat when an employee is terminated without cause. In the case of permanent employees, the department must also obtain Cabinet approval to terminate without cause.

Employees terminated without cause may be required to work their notice period or a portion thereof or take pay in lieu of notice as salary continuance or as a lump sum payment, subject to the discretion of the Deputy Minister. If the employee is to receive pay in lieu of notice as salary continuance, the employee may request in writing that the pay in lieu of notice be paid as a lump sum payment, subject to the discretion of the Deputy Minister.

When the employment of permanent and temporary employees is terminated without cause, departments will provide written notice of termination of employment in accordance with the Notice Period Table. The number of weeks of notice commences as of the date of the letter which notifies the employee that he/she has been terminated.

Pay in Lieu of Notice

Departments may provide employees, whose employment is terminated without cause, with pay in lieu of notice in accordance with the Notice Period Table. The default payment option for pay in lieu of notice is salary continuance unless the Deputy Minister determines a lump sum payment to be more appropriate. However, departments reserve the right to require employees to work the entirety, or a portion of, a notice period.

When the employee receives pay in lieu of notice, he/she is entitled to salary step increases and paid leave accumulation as if the employee worked through the notice period or the monetary equivalent of the same. Regardless of whether an employee receives lump sum payment or salary continuance, any benefits received are subject to deductions as required by law. 

Employees are required to work with representatives of the Human Resource Secretariat in confirming the related employment benefits due at termination, including any options available to the employee for continuation of benefits, such as group insurance. Specific questions regarding insurance and pension benefits must be referred to the appropriate Pensions & Group Insurance Division of the HRS.

At the end of the notice period, the employee may be eligible to receive severance pay, pay for accumulated paid leave, annual leave, travel time and overtime. These benefits will be paid at the times required by this Policy in accordance with applicable compensation policies and cannot be deferred.

Salary Continuance Option

If pay in lieu of notice is approved, employees will receive the pay in lieu of notice as salary continuance as the default payment option. Employees receiving pay in lieu of notice as salary continuance maintain an active employee status until their effective date of termination despite not having to report for work during the notice period. As a result, employees will remain in the group insurance plan for the entirety of the notice period, and accrue employment benefits, including: paid leave, severance, and actual pension credits (by contributing to, and remaining in, the Pension Plan). However, certain optional insurance benefits (e.g., long-term disability, critical illness, waiver of premium, etc.) may not be available during the salary continuance period and, in such cases, premium refund for such optional coverage will be provided.  Employees are required to consult with the Insurance Division of the Human Resource Secretariat as to the impact of termination of employment on the availability or continuation of optional insurance coverage.

Lump Sum Payment Option

If pay in lieu of notice is approved, the Deputy Minister may determine that a lump sum payment is the most appropriate payment option. However, if an employee is to receive salary continuance as the default payment option for pay in lieu of notice, and an employee wishes to receive the pay in lieu of notice as a lump sum, he/she must make a written request to the Deputy Minister within ten (10) working days of receiving written notice of termination of employment.  Determination of employee requests for lump sum payments will occur within ten (10) working days of the Deputy Minister receiving the employee's request, absent exceptional circumstances. 

Unless the employee is required to work during the notice period, the employee will remain on salary continuance until the Deputy Minister provides approval of pay in lieu of notice as a lump sum. As of the effective date of termination, the employee no longer meets the qualifying criteria for accruing actual pension credits, or remaining in the group insurance plan during the notice period. However, employees will receive the cash equivalent value of the pension benefits accruing during the notice period. Employees will also receive the cash equivalent value of the Employer's share of the insurance premium that would have been payable during the notice period.  

The value of the salary and benefits will be determined in reference to the salary on the last day worked (i.e., termination salary) taking into account any known salary increases scheduled to occur during the notice period.

Group Insurance

Employees have 31 calendar days to convert from the Group Insurance Plan to an individual health plan following their effective date of termination. Failure to do this within the 31 day timeframe may result in difficulty obtaining health coverage. If the employee works the entire notice period, the 31 days start after the last day of the worked notice period. Employees are required to consult with the Insurance Division of the Human Resource Secretariat to determine the timing of the 31 day timeframe if receiving salary continuance and/or lump sum.

Re-Employment

Employees receiving pay in lieu of notice via salary continuance or having received a lump sum payment, and who are re-employed in any capacity in the public sector including the public service before the expiry of the notice period, will have their pay in lieu of notice suspended during the period of re-employment or will be required to pay back that portion of the pay in lieu of notice and severance when the notice period overlaps with their period of re-employment. Additional information regarding re-employment, salary continuance and lump sum payment can be found at the following link: Impact of Re-Employment on Salary Continuance and Lump Sum Payment (200KB) .

The notice period will not be extended due to periods of re-employment during the notice period. For example, in the following situation:

  • an employee who has received notice of termination of employment is informed that he/she is eligible for 15 week's notice;

  • the employees pay in lieu of notice is taken as salary continuance starting in March and finishing in June;

  • the employee accepts a three week temporary assignment that begins mid-March.  The result is that the employee's salary continuance finish date, or effective date of termination, will not change.

Departments will recover the amount owed by the employee under this policy in accordance with Government compensation policies and other legal requirements.

Employees receiving salary continuance will be terminated from the Government's group insurance program when they have secured alternate employment (including self-employment) outside of Government. As such, employees are required to notify the Insurance Division of the Human Resource Secretariat when they have secured alternate employment outside of Government.

Contractual Employees

The termination of employment of contractual employees will be in accordance with their contractual provisions.

Notice Period Table (in weeks)

Age (years)

Continuous Service (years)

<35

35 - 39

40 - 44

45 - 49

50 - 54

>55

< 6 months

2

4

6

8

10

12

> 6 months   to   < 1 year

4

6

8

10

12

14

> 1 year   to   < 2 years

7

9

11

13

15

17

> 2 years   to   < 4 years

11

13

15

17

19

21

> 4 years   to   < 6 years

15

17

19

21

23

25

> 6 years   to   < 8 years

19

21

23

25

27

29

> 8 years   to   < 10 years

23

25

27

29

31

33

> 10 years   to   < 12 years

27

29

31

33

35

37

> 12 years   to   < 14 years

31

33

35

37

39

41

> 14 years   to   < 16 years

35

37

39

41

43

45

> 16 years   to   < 18 years

39

41

43

45

47

49

> 18 years   to   < 20 years

43

45

47

49

51

53

> 20 years   to   < 22 years

47

49

51

53

55

57

> 22 years

52

54

56

58

60

62

Termination of Employment of Probationary Employees

Employees who are on their initial appointment may be terminated during the probationary period due to unsuitability. The termination will be effective immediately.

For employees who are terminated during their probationary periods for positions obtained following their initial appointment, they shall be eligible for notice as per the Notice Period Table. Please refer to the Probationary Periods Policy for information regarding probationary employees.

 

Termination of Employment by Employees

Permanent employees

Permanent employees must provide the Deputy Minister or designate, or the Human Resource Secretariat thirty calendar days written notice when they decide to terminate their employment.

Temporary employees

Temporary employees must provide the Deputy Minister or designate, or the Human Resource Secretariat fourteen calendar days written notice when they decide to terminate their employment.

Probationary employees

Probationary employees must provide the Deputy Minister or designate, the Human Resource Secretariat fourteen calendar days written notice when they decide to terminate their employment.

Contractual employees

Contractual employees must provide the Deputy Minister or designate, or the Human Resource Secretariat with written notice as outlined in their employment contract.

The period of notice may be reduced or eliminated by mutual agreement between the employee and the Deputy Minister.

When an employee terminates the employment relationship, the employee is entitled to receive any salary, paid leave, overtime pay and severance pay accrued up to the effective date of resignation. Accumulated paid or annual leave or accumulated overtime cannot be used as any part of the period of notice unless mutually agreed upon by the employee and Deputy Minister.

Related Policies:

Depending on the individual circumstances, other polices may also apply.

Last Policy Update: April 14, 2016

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