FAQ - Reduction in Force (RIF)
What exactly is defined as a Reduction in Force (RIF)?
A Reduction in Force (RIF) is the release of a permanent, prepermanent, or indefinite employee from a given competitive area and competitive level because of lack of work or funds, reorganization, downward reclassification of an employee’s position because of a deliberate change in duties for reasons not involving the adequacy of the performance of the employee in the position or because of a gradual decline in the level of duties, exercise of restoration rights after military or other special service, or application of S-10:K reassignment procedures following a RIF.
How are competitive areas determined?
TVA and the EA negotiate the respective competitive areas. These competitive areas are currently listed in an MOU that can be found on the member info page of this website.
Which employees make up a particular competitive level?
The competitive level for RIF consists of the position or positions to be eliminated and all positions at the same job family, category, and level whose duties and responsibilities are sufficiently similar to those of the position or positions being eliminated that their incumbents should be expected to be readily interchangeable, without undue interpretation to the work program.
A position as a designated union representative is not interchangeable with other positions because of the special duties of the designated union representative positions.
Can management assign me work assignments that are outside my job description?
TVA looks at the official job descriptions of record to make the determination of what positions comprises the competitive level. This is an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulation. This is why it is important to ensure your job descriptions are accurate.
What is a retention register and who prepares the register?
A retention register is prepared by TVA and lists all employees in the given competitive area and the competitive level by groups in order of their service dates. The employees with the most recent service date being listed at the bottom of the subgroup.
What if an employee feels they are improperly classified by TVA?
The employee can file a grievance to be properly classified. A classification dispute arises when an employee disagrees with their assignment by TVA to a classification or level or when the employee feels the work he or she is performing is outside his or her current classification or level.
An employee must file a classification dispute within 20 calendar days of the assignment or at any time the employee feels his or her work has exceeded his or her current classification or level. The dispute shall be filed on a grievance form and submitted to the responsible department supervisor. TVA will distribute the grievance form to the EA
What are the retention groups?
There are three retention groups. They are as follows:
Retention Group I: Permanent Tenure
- AD – Employees with veterans’ preference in RIF who have compensable service-connected disabilities of 30 percent or more and permanent tenure.
- A – Employees with veterans’ preference in RIF not included in subgroup AD and permanent tenure.
- B – All other employees with permanent tenure.
Retention Group II: Prepermanent Tenure
- AD – Employees with veterans’ preference in RIF who have compensable service-connected disabilities of 30 percent or more and prepermanent tenure.
- A – Employees with veterans’ preference in RIF not included in subgroup AD and prepermanent tenure.
- B – All other employees with prepermanent tenure.
Retention Group III: Indefinite Tenure
- AD – Employees with veterans’ preference in RIF who have compensable service-connected disabilities of 30 percent or more and indefinite tenure.
- A – Employees with veterans’ preference in RIF not included in subgroup AD and indefinite tenure.
- B – All other employees with indefinite tenure.
How is an employee’s service date established?
An employee’s service date is (1) the date of his/her entrance on duty, if he/she had no previous creditable service; or (2) the date obtained by subtracting the employee’s total creditable previous service from the date of his/her latest entrance on duty.
Does credit for performance play a factor in my retention standing?
Yes, under the credit for performance provision of the OPM’s reduction in force (RIF) regulations, employees who receive annual overall performance ratings of record are given additional creditable service consistent with their performance ratings. Credit is given by adjusting an employee’s federal service date for RIF purposes.
Covered employees (EA Represented Employees) are given additional service credit during a reduction in force based on their performance ratings of record for the most recent 36 months of annual performance ratings during the 48-month period preceding the date RIF notices are issued.
Additional Years of Service for Overall Ratings
Exceeds – 16 Years
Satisfactory – 12 Years
Marginal/Unsatisfactory – 0 Years
Calculations for employees who have three overall performance ratings of record during the four-year period preceding the RIF are calculated in the following example:
2008 – Exceeds – 16 Years
2007 – Exceeds – 16 Years
2006 – Satisfactory – 12 Years
Total Years = 16 + 16 + 12 = 44
Divide 44 by 3 = 14.667 (15 Years)
Fifteen (15) is the total number of years of service an employee receive in credit for performance which is added to their creditable service date when factoring retention standing.
How are temporary annual employees treated during a RIF?
Employees on temporary appointment with less than one year of current continuous service and non-temporary employees serving on a temporary promotion in the targeted competitive area and level are not listed on the retention register. All employees serving in the competitive area and level whose names are not listed on the retention register are separated from the competitive area and level before an employee on the register is separated.
Employees who complete one year of current continuous service under a temporary appointment are included in Retention Group III. This is the group for those with Indefinite Tenure.
Upon receiving a RIF Notice, how long do I continue to be employed and do I continue working until the very last day?
An employee reached for RIF is given written notice of RIF not less than 60 days in advance of the effective date.
A temporary employee being laid off is given a written notice of termination of temporary employment as much in advance as possible
The period covered by a RIF notice is in work status if possible.
If an employee receives a RIF notice, do they have any “bumping rights” or reassignment rights to a job they previously held?
A non-temporary employee with ten or more years of TVA service who is selected for separation from his/her job in RIF may displace another employee in the same competitive area, but in a different competitive level, by application of RIF procedures.
Jobs for which he/she is considered under this provision are those in the same competitive level as that job the employee last held on a non-temporary basis which had a different level with a lower market rate or the same level with at least 10 percent lower market rate than his/her current job.
If such competitive level does not exist in the competitive area, or if it exists but all the employees in it have higher retention standing, the employee is so informed in writing and is given notice of RIF in his/her current job.
Can an employee volunteer for another employee that has effected by RIF?
An employee may volunteer for RIF in the place of an employee who has received a notice of RIF. The employee volunteering for RIF provides a written notice to TVA of his/her willingness to accept a RIF. Such an offer may be accepted at the option of TVA.
If accepted by TVA, the employee is eligible for severance pay as is provided in Supplementary Agreement 10:N.
Employees may also volunteer for RIF when an employee volunteers for RIF on the basis of a general notice to employees in a competitive area that a reduction of a specified approximate number of positions in the competitive area will be made.
Are all employees who receive a RIF eligible for severance pay?
No, an EA represented annual employee is eligible for severance pay if:
- The employee gets a formal written RIF notice; and
- The employee’s current period of employment, beginning with his/her most recent appointment date and ending on the effective date of such notice, includes five years or more of full-time annual service or the equivalent amount of service worked on either a scheduled part-time annual basis or a combination of full-time or scheduled part-time annual basis (See S-10:N-1 to convert part-time service before and after December 23, 1985);
- The employee has not received from TVA an offer of a non-temporary full-time annual position or, if part-time, an offer of a non-temporary part-time position at the same or higher basic annual salary rate or trades and labor wage rate at, or prior to, the date such notice was received; and
- The employee is terminated from TVA (1) through the RIF procedure, or (2) by resignation during the notice period, or (3) at the end of a period of temporary annual employment to which he/she transferred after receiving his/her RIF notice; or the employee transfer to other than an annual TVA position.
What is the severance pay allowance?
The amount of severance pay is five days’ pay for each full year of full-time annual service or equivalent during the period beginning with the employee’s most recent appointment date as defined in S-10:N-1 of the TVA-EA Agreements and ending with the date of termination or the date immediately prior to transfer as refereed in S-10:N-1(d).
The maximum amount of severance pay is 150 days’ pay.
When does an employee receive their severance pay?
Severance pay allowances for employees not electing recall are paid in a lump sum upon termination. If an employee is transferred to a temporary annual position, the payment is made at the end of such temporary employment. If an employee is transferred to other than an annual position, the payment is made at the time of such transfer.
What salary rate is the lump sum based upon?
The lump sum is paid at the rate in effect on the effective date of the employee’s termination, as set for in the notice of RIF or on the date prior to the date of transfer.