Merrill dorns in snow

Hampshire College Staff Workforce Reduction FAQ

The FAQs below respond to initial questions received by Human Resources. We’ll update them as we receive new questions and then post them to the HR website, to the Daily Digest, and provide paper copies. The content doesn’t represent all services, policies, and resources available. Employees with questions specific to their individual circumstance should contact Human Resources.

If there is a Reduction in Force, what will the selection criteria be? How will decisions be made?

The first step in determining who will be laid off will be an analysis of job functions the College requires to provide education and support services for students and to run day-to-day operations. This step will be based solely on the job functions of positions and the operating needs of the College.

When several employees hold the same position and not all of those positions will be eliminated, the second step will be to evaluate the skills and qualifications of the individual employees. Performance factors include job knowledge, qualifications, and the skill and ability of position incumbents based on the employee's work history.

The length of service at the College (the period of continuous full-time or regular part-time employment based on the employee’s most recent date of hire) will be the determining factor in keeping an employee in their job when performance factors are comparable among staff who hold positions that will be eliminated.

The senior leadership team in consultation with department heads and, as appropriate, supervisors, will make final decisions on all job classifications affected in any work force reduction.

The College is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) principles.

If Reductions in Force are necessary, when will they become effective?

No staff will be laid off before April 19, 2019. We envision other rounds of layoffs, and while the process is subject to change, we expect to have one other round this semester, with notification to all by the end of April, 2019. (Updated April 10, 2019.)

How much notice can I expect if my position is eliminated?

Any staff member directly affected by a reduction in force will receive at least 60 days written notice of the layoff from the Human Resource Department. Notice will include information about employee rights and responsibilities. Usually, each staff member will work until the effective termination date.  

How will I be notified if my position is eliminated?

Notifications will occur in person. A member of the Senior Team or their designate, and a member of the Human Resources Department will share all layoff notices and talk with affected employees to review their benefits and the separation process.

If I’m laid off, what will be my end date of employment?

The employment relationship will end on the earlier of, 1) the last day of the Notice period or 2) last day worked.

Can I be laid off if I’m on FMLA or Workers Compensation leave?

Yes.

How will my benefits, including medical and tuition remission, be affected if I’m laid off?

Health, Voluntary Dental, Voluntary Vision, Health Savings, Dependent Care, and Flexible
Spending Accounts

Health, voluntary dental, voluntary vision, health savings, dependent care, and flexible spending accounts continue through the end of the month in which employment ends. Flexible spending account deductions continue through the last paycheck and can be used for expenses incurred through the last day of employment. Health savings account deductions continue through the last paycheck and can be used for qualifying expenses after employment. Dependent care spending account deductions continue through the last paycheck and can be used for expenses incurred through the last day of employment. Upon separation, employees may elect to maintain their current health care, dental care, and vision care at their expense under COBRA. Information on benefits continuance will be provided at the exit interview.

Life and Long-Term Disability

Insurance coverage ceases on the last day of work. The life insurance plan may be converted during a 30-day grace period to a direct pay plan by contacting the carrier, Prudential: 1.877.507.4778. The long-term disability plan is not convertible.

Tuition Benefit

Dependents of laid off employees currently enrolled at Hampshire College and utilizing the tuition benefit including remission, grant and TEP may complete the 2019-2020 academic year under the provisions of the tuition policy in place at the time of the work force reduction. Please note: This will be considered taxable income to the employee in both 2019 and 2020, and the laid off employee should expect to see this reflected on their W-2 for both years even if they don’t work for the College in 2020.    

Earned Time Off

Earned unused vacation time will be paid in accordance with Human Resource policy. Specifically, vacation days are available for use on July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year. However, they are viewed as earned on a “per-pay-period basis” throughout the fiscal year. If a member of the staff terminates employment during the fiscal year, a reconciliation of the individual’s vacation account is made. If the staff member has used more vacation days than earned at that point in the fiscal year, the difference will be deducted from the final pay. If, however, the individual has used fewer days than earned, the difference will be added to the final pay. Unused sick and personal time are not payable at separation. Laid off employees may not use sick or personal time to end their employment at Hampshire College.

Retirement Plan

Vested retirement plan contributions made by Hampshire for the employee may remain in the Hampshire plan in accordance with plan documents. The employer contributions to the retirement plan cease at the time of termination. Laid off employees are fully vested in employer contributions occurring before the termination date.

How can I get health insurance if I’m not working and open enrollment has ended under ACA?

You have options to maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and your family. You may continue your current policy through COBRA or enroll in a new policy through the health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If you lose your job outside of ACA open enrollment dates, you’re eligible for a special enrollment period. You must enroll within 60 days of losing your job to qualify.

If I’m laid off, what is my transfer and re-employment eligibility?

Transfer Eligibility

Hampshire will attempt to retain displaced staff who have established acceptable performance records and qualifications. Where possible, Hampshire will first try to redeploy staff into vacant positions for which they meet the minimum requirements. Employees who transfer will be paid according to the grade and range of the position they are transferring into. 

Re-Employment Eligibility

Employees affected by a work force reduction will remain eligible for re-employment for a period equivalent to their length of service up to a maximum of one year from their last day of work. Upon rehire, the employee will be reinstated to their most recent date of employment (prior to the reduction). Individuals affected by the reduction will be considered for future vacancies based on the same criteria applied in the reduction. There is no guarantee, however, of being recalled to a former position or rehired to any other position with the College.

I need a reference from the College. What do I do?

All reference requests for existing or past Hampshire employees should be directed to Human Resources for processing, and a standard reference will be issued. Other references will not be given without the employee’s written permission identifying who at the College may provide one.

Can I collect unemployment if I'm laid off?

All decisions regarding unemployment are made by the Department of Labor, not by Hampshire College. According to the Department of Labor, you need to meet two criteria to qualify for unemployment: 1) You are unemployed through no fault of your own; and 2) You meet your state’s requirements for time worked or wages earned.

What resources are you planning to provide to employees during this transition?

The Human Resources Department will offer employee information and orientation sessions to inform employees of their eligibility and benefits as laid off workers; answer questions about job searches and unemployment insurance; refer employees to One-Stop Career Centers; orient them to the content and timetables of the various on-site services; provide access to individual counseling; conduct job-search workshops; and help to develop job leads and provide job placement services.

Open office hours with Blue Cross Blue Shield regarding health insurance will be offered:

  • February 21, 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
  • March 6, 11:00 am to 2:00 pm

Expanded hours for onsite TIAA retirement and financial planning counseling will be held:

  • February 25 and February 27
  • March 1 and March 27
  • April 12 and April 25
  • May 10 and May 16
  • June 3 and June 19

Schedule your private appointment online or call 800.732.8353.

Is there someone I can talk to about managing the personal impact of layoffs?

The Human Resources staff is always available to assist. In addition, e4health, our Employee Assistance Program, is a benefit provided by Hampshire to all staff and faculty for comprehensive, confidential life service for employees and their families. As we navigate the current challenges at Hampshire, E4 Health is available "24/7/365." Services include access to short-term counseling and professional development. Call 800.828.6025 or use their website:

If I'm laid off, will I receive severance?

Eligible employees who are laid off without recall guarantee between February 15, 2019 and June 30, 2020 will receive severance pay based upon their years of service and signing a release of claims agreement.

View Severance Details (login required)

I have a question that hasn't been answered in this FAQ.

The Human Resources team is available to assist you with any questions or concerns. Please feel free to drop by, call, or email: Blair Hall 1st floor, 413.559.5605, hr@hampshire.edu

Stay In Touch
With Human Resources
Snail Mail
Human Resources
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002