Breadcrumb Navigation:

Human Resources > Employment > Current Page

Reduction in Force (RIF)

help button.  click this to display help form

Ask a question

Name: Your email: Question:

A Reduction in Force (RIF) may occur when there are budget constraints, a shortage of work, changing priorities, or a need to abolish SPA positions. A RIF can also occur when a position changes so significantly that an employee is no longer able to perform the required duties. A RIF decision requires an evaluation of the need for specific SPA positions as they contribute to the department’s mission, goals, and provision of services. The department determines priority for RIF within the following guidelines:

  • Temporary employees performing similar work must be terminated before any employee with a probationary or permanent appointment, provided that the probationary or permanent employee can perform the temporary employee’s tasks.
  • Employees with probationary appointments as well as trainees with less than six months’ service must be terminated before any employee in the same or a related classification with a permanent appointment, provided that the permanent employee can perform the tasks of the probationary employee or trainee.
  • Temporary employees, probationary employees, and employees with time-limited appointments may be separated without following RIF procedures.
  • Consideration for reduction in force of permanent employees includes, but is not limited to, the following factors:
    • Which positions are most vital to the department in the delivery of services
    • Relative skills, knowledge, and productivity of employees
    • Consideration of equal employment factors to avoid adverse impact
    • Length of service of employees (but not seniority-driven)

Employment Rights


Before a reduction in force occurs and after receiving Human Resources’ approval, the hiring department provides verbal and written notification to the employee.  Notice must be given at least 30 calendar days in advance of the separation date.  Notification includes:

  • The reason for the reduction in force
  • The effective date (at least 30 days following notification date)
  • Direction to contact Human Resources to obtain information on: benefits, priority reemployment, completion of required application forms, aid in seeking employment, and eligibility for Unemployment Insurance benefits
  • The amount of severance pay due
  • The right of permanent employees to appeal the reduction in force through the SPA Employee Grievance and Appeal Procedure


Employees separated by RIF have the right to appeal the action if it is alleged that the separation is in retaliation for opposition to alleged discrimination based on the employee’s age, sex, race, color, national origin, religion, creed, political affiliation, or disability.  Employees may also appeal based on the fact that the employer failed to apply Veterans Preference.  Appeal may be made through the University’s grievance procedure by contacting Employee Relations at 515-6575 or directly to the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Appeal rights are set forth in the University’s Grievance and Appeal Policy and Procedures located at

Exit Interview

The university's exit interview program is designed to obtain information vital to promoting positive work environments.  It gives exiting employees an opportunity to voice concerns and make suggestions.  Employees are encouraged to complete an Exit Interview Questionnaire online or by printing out a hard copy and returning the completed form to Employee Relations, Campus Box 7210.  

Probationary Period

Employees who have a break in service of more than 31 calendar days may be required to serve a new probationary period if the duties of the new position are significantly different from those previously held.  Employees must be notified in writing if a new probationary period is required.

Priority Reemployment

The following information applies to career status SPA employees (full-time and part-time) in permanent appointments, employees with trainee appointments who have completed six months of service, and employees who attained permanent status prior to entering a trainee appointment.  An employee has career status when they are in a permanent appointment and have been continuously employed by the State of North Carolina for the immediate preceding 24 months.

RIF employees have reemployment priority to the same appointment type (full-time or part-time), same or lower salary grade equivalency, same or lower band/level, and same or lower salary rate held at the time of official written notification.  Employees also have priority for different band/levels with the same or lower Journey Market Rate

If the employee possesses the minimum qualifications for a position and can successfully perform the job in a reasonable length of time, including normal orientation and training given any new employee, a state employer must offer a vacant position to the employee prior to hiring a person who is not a current state employee.  RIF priority does not apply when the only applicants considered for a vacancy are current state employees. Also, a RIF with more than 10 years of service receives priority over a RIF with less than 10 years of service in the same or related position classification.

Priority begins at the time of written notification and remains in effect for 24 months.  To claim priority, employees must complete employment applications for the University and state government within 30 days of notification of reduction in force.  Acceptance or decline of a position at a lower salary or band/level does not affect priority.  Employees who decline interviews or offers of employment for positions at the same or a higher salary grade or band/level within 35 miles of the original work station lose priority and can lose severance benefits.

Support Services

Job Search Assistance

It is critical to begin the job search process immediately after notification.  Employees meet with an Employment Consultant in Human Resources to discuss employment options and qualifications.  The Employment Specialist assists the employee with application completion, resume development, interviewing techniques and practice, job search techniques, and networking.

Employee Job Search Steps

  1. Identify the type of job desired.
  2. Complete a NC State University employment application online at
  3. Complete a State of North Carolina employment application at
  4. Prepare a well organized and attractive resume.
  5. Gather contact information for professional references.
  6. Identify potential employers within state government and in the private sector.
  7. Contact family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors for possible job leads.
  8. Connect with professional organizations and acquaintances.
  9. Prepare for interviews.
  10. Communicate often with the Employment Consultant.

Job Search Resources

NC State University Vacancy Listing

Job listings are posted online on a daily basis.  A copy of the vacancy listing is also posted outside of the Human Resources office located in Administrative Services II on Sullivan Drive.

State Government Vacancy Listing

The Office of State Personnel offers an online job vacancy listing available through a link located on the NC State University Human Resources web site.

Employment Security Commission Vacancy Listing

The Internet Job Information Service provided by the Employment Security Commission (ESC) of North Carolina is a self-directed job search system.  You can access the service through a link located on the NC State University Human Resources web site.  Internet service is available at most county libraries.

Chambers of Commerce

Local Chambers of Commerce provide directories of businesses within an area.  Copies of these directories are also located in local libraries.

County Libraries

Books on job hunting, interviewing and resume writing and information on local employers can be found in most libraries.

Large Web Job Boards

Faculty and Staff Assistance Program

The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FASAP), provides no cost, confidential and professional assessment and referral services for employees who may be experiencing personal or work-related concerns.  Deer Oaks EAP Services provides services and support to employees and their dependents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Employees can contact Deer Oaks by calling 1-877-EAP-SOLV (1-877-327-7658) or by visiting their web site. The web site login and password for NC State participants is FASAP.  Additional information can also be provided by Employee Relations, 515-6575. 


Severence Pay

Severance may be paid to an eligible employee who does not obtain other employment in state government by the effective date of the reduction in force.  Payment is based on total state service, salary at separation, and age at separation.  Exception:  If an employee was promoted within the last 12 months, the salary prior to promotion is used to calculate the severance payment.  Final approval to pay severance must be given by the Office of State Budget Management. 

The period covered by severance pay is not credited for state service or retirement service.  Employees may continue to receive severance pay while working outside of state government or in a temporary capacity as long as they continue to search for state employment and are available for interviews.  Payment is discontinued once re-employment is obtained with state government.

Employees receiving severance may not be employed under any contractual agreement with a state agency.  Probationary, time limited, temporary, or trainee employees are not eligible for severance pay. 

Example of Payment:

59 year old employee, 23 years of service, annual salary $55,000

Eligible for 4 months of pay ($18,333.33) plus an age adjustment factor equal to 2.5% of annual salary for each full year of age over 39, not to exceed 22 years, and not to exceed the service-based component.  So the age-based payment in this case is another $18,333.33, and the total severance payout is $36,666.66. 

Eligibility Based on Service:

Years of Service


Less than 1 year

2 weeks base salary

1 but less than 5 years

1 month base salary

5 but less than 10 years

2 months base salary

10 but less than 20 years

3 months base salary

20 or more years

4 months base salary


The following deductions must be withheld from severance payments:



OASDI (Social Security)

6.2% of gross amount

HI Tax (Medicare)

1.45% of gross amount

Federal Withholding

Based on your current withholding status on W-4

All Campus Card

Based on info provided by All Campus Card Network department

Parking Fines

Based on info provided by Transportation Department

Garnishments, Support orders, Levies

Based on directive provided

Negative leave balances

Based on leave balances

The following deductions may be withheld from severance payments.  If interested, contact Payroll at 515-4350.

  • State Employees Credit Union
  • Optional Insurances:  SEANC Term, SEANC AD&D
  • UE Local 150
  • Parking fees

The following deductions will not be withheld from severance payments:

  • State of North Carolina withholding tax.  The first $35,000 of severance wages are exempt from State of NC income tax.
  • Gym access, gym locker
  • Medical insurances including health, dental and vision
  • TSERS Retirement
  • 403b, 401k and Deferred Compensation
  • 401K loan payments
  • Life insurance

Unemployment Insurance

Employees separated due to reduction in force may collect unemployment insurance provided they meet the normal eligibility requirements.   Contact the local office of the Employment Security Commission. 

Direct Deposit Enrollment

Direct deposit enrollment will be canceled after payment of the last severance check.

Health Insurance

Health insurance coverage under the State Health Plan (SHP) is continued for up to one year following the date of separation, provided the employee has 12 or more months of consecutive state service and existing plan coverage (i.e.- must be covered by the SHP at the time of the separation from service in order to be eligible).    Dependent coverage may also continue with your payment of required premiums (also to Payroll by the 10th of each month).  After one year, coverage may be continued for you and your eligible dependents on the SHP; however, the University will no longer pay the premium cost for the coverage. 

Employees who elect not to continue coverage under reduction-in-force priority directly after separation may not obtain coverage at a later date.  Eligibility for coverage under RIF priority ends when employees are re-employed by the State and are eligible for coverage on a non-contributory basis. If employees do not have 12 months of consecutive service, health coverage may be continued for employee and eligible dependents under the SHP’s COBRA provisions.  Information regarding continuation rights under COBRA will be mailed to the RIF employee’s home address directly from the SHP once the employer-provided health coverage ends.
Contact your Benefits Consultant at if there are additional questions. 

Continuation Options for Other Benefits




Retirement/Supplemental Retirement

Contributions are no longer allowed

More info provided under Retirement Options (See Below)

NCFlex Programs (Spending Accts, Dental, Vision, AD&D, Cancer, Critical Illness, NCFlex Life)

May continue under COBRA for a specific period of time. The vendors will send the COBRA packets when your coverage terminates as an active employee terminates.  You must pay the required cost of coverage.

Flexible Spending Accts: 1-877-371-2926.
Dental: 1-800-291-8039
Vision: 1-800-507-3800
AD&D: 1-800-257-0930
Cancer:  1-800-521-3535
Critical Ill:  1-866-232-1518
NCFlex Life:  1-877-464-5111

State Disability Programs (Short-term and Long-term)

Coverage stops on termination date.

No action required

Voluntary Disability Programs

Coverage stops on termination date.

No action required

Death Benefit (Provided under the Teachers' and State Retirement System)

This benefit is still payable if you die within 180 days of the last day for which you were paid a salary. (If you were a contributing member for at least one year and you have not withdrawn funds)

No action required

MetLife Voluntary Group Term Life Insurance

May continue under portability/conversion privileges at different rates.

Contact your NC State Benefits Consultant

Hyatt Legal

Can continue by direct pay to vendor.  You must contact vendor to continue


Prudential Long Term Care

Can continue by direct pay to vendor.  You must contact vendor to continue


Travelers Automobile & Homeowners Insurance

Can continue by direct pay to vendor. You must contact vendor to continue



Retirement Options

RIF employees have the option of leaving contributions in the retirement system and maintaining all of the earned creditable service as of the date of separation. If electing to leave contributions in the retirement system, employees may be eligible to retire at a later date provided they have at least five years of creditable service in the retirement system.  Upon retirement, employees may also be eligible for retiree health insurance at no cost if hired prior to October 1, 2006.  If hired after October 1, 2006, retirees are still allowed to participate in the State’s retiree health insurance but must have at least 20 years of creditable service to be eligible for the retiree health insurance at no cost. 
When leaving state employment, employees also have the option of receiving a refund of contributions to the retirement system. If leaving before having completing five years of creditable service, employees can receive a refund of your actual contributions. If employees have at least five years as a contributing member, accumulated interest will be added to the refund.
Please note that while employees may be eligible to receive a refund, it is subject to a 20% tax penalty.  An employee can avoid this penalty by having their contributions transferred (also called a rollover) to an IRA or another qualified retirement plan.  State law does not permit the retirement system to make refunds/transfers earlier than 60 days after a withdrawal application is received. The State Retirement System refund/rollover form (Form 5) is available at
Withdrawing money through a refund or rollover will result in the loss of creditable service credit with the State Retirement System.  If contributions are refunded and the employee is re-employed by the State at a later date, withdrawn service may be purchased after contributing again for five years to the Retirement System.

Listed below are the criteria for retirement eligibility:

Service Retirement (Unreduced Benefits)
Retire with unreduced service retirement benefits after:

  • Age 65 and completion of five years of creditable service, or
  • Age 60 and completion of 25 years of creditable service, or
  • Completion of 30 years of creditable service, at any age.

Early Retirement (Reduced Benefits)
If an employee has at least 20 years of creditable service, early payments can be applied for beginning at age 50; however, the benefit is reduced because payments are received for a longer period of time. Employees may retire early with a reduced benefit after:

  • Age 50 and completion of 20 years of creditable service, or
  • Age 60 and completion of five years of creditable service.

Visit to find more information about the retirement process. 

Discontinued Service Retirement
Employees, age 50-55, with at least 20 years of creditable service may be eligible for a reduced monthly retirement benefit.  An unreduced discontinued service retirement allowance may be approved for employees 55 years of age or older who have 20 or more years of creditable service.  For employees who have a combination of lengthy state service, a high salary, and years of age above 40, Discontinued Service Retirement may be more cost effective than severance.  HR can provide comparisons.

Leave Balances

Vacation Leave
Vacation Leave is paid out up to a maximum of 240 hours. Employees may choose to use/exhaust leave prior to separation with supervisory approval.  Employees who are reduced in force do not have to work their "last day" if vacation leave is being exhausted.  If a vacation leave balance exists after separation (over the required 240 hour payout), it is re-instated if the employee returns to work with a state government agency or state university within one year.

Bonus Leave
Unused Bonus Leave is paid out.

Sick Leave
Sick Leave is not paid out. If employees return to state employment within five years from the separation date, sick leave will be reinstated. Sick leave also transfers to other agencies.

Compensatory Time
Compensatory time balances are paid out for non-exempt employees. If exempt from overtime, compensatory time is forfeited.

Community Service Leave
The balance of community service leave can be transferred to other agencies.


Longevity pay is paid to employees with at least 10 years of state service. Payment is made annually based on an employee's salary and total state service. Eligible employees who are reduced in force receive a pro-rated payment.

Sample RIF Plan




TO: Barbara Carroll, Associate Vice Chancellor
Human Resources
THROUGH: Kathy Lambert, Director
HR Employment Services
FROM: (Dean, Director, or Department Head)
SUBJECT: Reduction-in-Force (RIF) Plan


The (department, division, or college name) requests review and endorsement of a reduction-in-force as a result of  [Note specific causes or factors -- such as a mandated budget reduction, declining revenues, end of external funding, organization restructuring, lack of work, etc]. The RIF will result in the abolishment of the following position(s) effective Month Day, Year.  [NOTE:  This date must be at least 30 days after HR endorsement of the RIF plan and the scheduled notification to employee(s)]

  • Position number(s) and position title(s)
  • Incumbent name(s), race, gender  


Before proposing this reduction in force, we took the following actions: 
[ Note specific efforts already implemented to find alternate solutions, such as cost cutting measures - imposing limits on travel, training, purchasing, abolishing vacant positions, not hiring, cutting temp or probationary appointments, etc.].  In addition, we have reviewed current openings in the unit and are unable to identify a suitable vacant position for transfer of the affected employee(s).  We will continue to look for opportunities to avoid the separation.

The (department, division, college) considered a number of factors in making the decision to RIF this (these) particular position(s), including:

• Services that must be delivered (include examples)
• Functions of the position   (include examples)
• Relative skills, knowledge, productivity of employees (include examples)
• Length of service of employees, and
• Adverse impact on demographic diversity

(Provide sufficient detail above regarding the factors to explain and document the decision-making process)

The proposed reduction-in-force (will -- or will not) adversely affect the department’s EEO profile, based on the occupational area and race/ gender of the impacted employee(s). 

If you have questions regarding this plan, please contact (name) for additional information.  Thank you for consideration of this request.


cc: Next Higher Level Administrator

Unit Organization Chart showing all unit positions & identifying the position(s) proposed for reduction

                                    Performance Appraisal -Most recent for impacted employee(s)

Reduction in Force Guidelines

The following guidelines are used for the analysis and implementation of all proposed Reductions in Force (RIFs) of SPA positions.  The purpose is to help ensure systematic and defensible decision-making when RIFs become necessary. 


Review of RIF Plan

The employing unit submits a proposed RIF plan using a standard template provided by Human Resources (HR).

Human Resources evaluates the RIF Plan by performing the following assessments:

  1. HR identifies and reviews any vacant positions within the department in the same or related band/level. 
  2. HR identifies and reviews any pending new positions in the same or related class within the department.
  3. HR reviews the methodology used by the employing unit to select the position(s) to be abolished.
  4. HR reviews documentation of competencies and performance of the individual incumbent(s) in the position(s) selected for RIF, as well as other similarly-situated positions in the unit.  
  5. HR considers the length of state service of impacted incumbents.
  6. HR conducts an adverse impact analysis.
  7. HR discusses options and alternatives with department as needed.


Endorsement of RIF Plan and Notice to Employee(s)

After the employing unit has provided information and HR has endorsed the proposed plan, HR coordinates notification meetings with the employing unit. 

HR attends the notification meetings and provides information regarding re-employment priority, severance pay, retirement, leave payout, health insurance continuation, unemployment insurance eligibility, etc. 

HR works with each affected employee to immediately initiate an online University application and a State of North Carolina Application for Employment in order to document the individual’s priority re-employment rights and commence a job search.

Re-employment Priority Consideration

Once an employee who is in “career status” (i.e., employed in state government for the immediate previous 24 months) is notified of RIF and completes required application documents, HR considers suitable vacant positions for possible placement. 

A suitable position is:

    1. One in the same banded classification and at the same or lower competency level as is the RIF’d position, or
    2. One in a different banded classification with the same or lower journey market rate as the RIF’d position, and
    3. One for which the employee meets the minimum qualifications, and
    4. One for which the employee could be trained to perform the job within a reasonable time, including normal orientation and training given any new employee, and
    5. One with the same FTE.

Note: Individuals who are reduced in force have priority to be paid the salary held at the time of separation.  A hiring department does not have to match the salary at separation, but if the individual accepts a position at a lower salary, they can retain priority for other  vacancies.

Application materials are referred to the hiring official for review.  Hiring officials are required to interview RIF candidates.  RIF candidates have priority over external candidates and equal status to other state employees.  If the hiring official believes the criteria in C and D above are not met and they do not desire to hire the candidate, the reasons are documented and forwarded to HR for consideration.


For more information, contact Employment Services at 919-515-2135.