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2.1.14 Senior Staff

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Formerly Known As Policy Number: 

Approved by the Vice President for Human Resources.


Applies to employees designated at level N, O, P, N11 and N 99 in the university classification system. The list of positions designated as Senior Staff is maintained by the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources.

1. Policy Statement

Senior Staff employees have responsibilities and functions that require different policies and conditions governing their employment and termination. These employees are "at-will" employees and may be terminated at any time for any reason, including layoff, or no reason. Guide Memo 2.1.16: Addressing Conduct and Performance Issues, and the grievance procedure in Guide Memo 2.1.11: Grievance Policy, are not applicable to Senior Staff. Senior Staff have access to the Senior Staff Administrative Review described below.

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2. Purpose

This policy describes the unique employment relationship of Senior Staff to the university. It further sets forth the process for administrative review of Senior Staff employment disputes.

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3. Definition

Effective July 1, 2015, Senior Staff positions are designated at levels N, O, P, N11, and N99 within the university classification system.  Only employees in positions designated at level N, O, P, N11, or N99 on or after July 1, 2015 are considered Senior Staff.

  1. TGP Eligibility. Employees who were designated as Senior Staff prior to July 1, 2015, but who are designated at classification level A-M on July 1, 2015 will no longer be considered Senior Staff, but will retain the TGP coverage they had prior to July 1, 2015.
  2. Housing Program Eligibility. University staff employed 100% time and matched to classification levels O, P and N11 are eligible for one or more housing assistance programs.  Staff employees who were eligible for staff housing assistance before this date, but are not in classification levels O, P and N11, will lose their eligibility for any applicable staff housing assistance unless they are already participating in the program. For any questions about housing program eligibility or details of the programs, please contact Faculty Staff Housing at or 725-6893.

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4. Termination of Senior Staff Employees

a. Termination Policy
Senior Staff may be terminated at any time for any reason, including layoff, or no reason upon the approval of the Dean, Vice Provost, Vice President, Provost or the President and the concurrence of the Vice President for Human Resources or their designee. Such termination is subject to the appropriate administrative review, but will not be subject to review under any grievance procedure in the University. Senior Staff who are terminated by the university receive notice and severance pay as described in section 4.c, except when the President or the Vice President for Human Resources or their designee determines the termination is for gross misconduct. Senior staff who voluntarily resign are not entitled to notice or severance pay.

b. Policy on Extended Notice
Senior Staff receive three months' notice. When pay is given in lieu of notice, the maximum payment period is three months. A combination of notice and pay in lieu of notice may be appropriate at the university's discretion. In such an arrangement, severance pay may be contingent on serving out a specified portion of the notice period.

c. Policy on Payment of Severance Pay
Senior staff will be paid a minimum of three months' salary and a maximum as listed in the following table, provided a General Release of All Claims and Severance Repayment Agreement is executed. Severance is not payable until the expiration of any revocation period in the General Release of All Claims and Severance Repayment Agreement.

Senior Staff Severance Pay

Years of continuous regular University employment

Severance pay eligibility in months of base pay

Less than 10 years 3
10 years but less than 12 4
12 years but less than 14 5
14 years but less than 16 6
16 years but less than 18 7
18 years but less than 20 8
20 years but less than 22 9
22 years but less than 24 10
24 years but less than 26 11
26 years or more 12

d. Policy on Continuation of Benefits

Senior Staff may continue their university medical insurance and receive the university's regular contributions for three months after the date of termination, provided the employee signs the General Release of All Claims and Severance Repayment Agreement and (1) timely elects COBRA and completes the necessary medical coverage selection forms, and (2) timely pays any contributions required of the employee. Stanford Contributory Retirement Plan (SCRP) Basic contributions continue during the notice period, including any period of pay in lieu of notice. If the Senior Staff member makes employee contributions to the plan during the notice period, matching contributions will also continue.

e. Policy on Repayment of Severance Pay
The months following the termination date comprise the "severance repayment period." This period is equal to the number of months of severance pay received. If a Senior Staff employee is reemployed by the university before the end of the severance repayment period, that portion of the severance pay equal to the base pay they would have earned if not terminated may be retained by the employee. The balance of the severance pay is to be repaid in full at the time of reemployment, unless the employee authorizes and the university approves a reasonable schedule of repayment and payroll deduction, not to exceed one year in length, in writing on a form provided by University Human Resources - Employee & Labor Relations.

f. Policy on Outplacement Services

Senior Staff whose employment terminates due to permanent layoff will be eligible for three months of outplacement services to be used within six months of the date the employee receives written notification of their layoff. The outplacement services shall be provided by an outplacement agency designated by the university, in its sole discretion, and the cost for such services shall be borne by the university in an amount to be determined from time to time, with additional amounts, if any, to be paid by the department from which the employee was laid off and approved by the Vice President of Human Resources (or designee).

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5. Senior Staff Administrative Review

a. Purpose

  • The Senior Staff Administrative Review is a formal guideline for review of involuntary terminations (including layoff).
  • The Administrative Review does not preclude informal discussions with senior university managers in an attempt to resolve problems.

b. Procedure

  • Discussion with Supervisor
    The Senior Staff employee should first discuss the issue with their immediate supervisor. The supervisor should respond orally or in writing as expeditiously as possible, but no longer than one week.
  • Written Statement
    If the issue is not resolved by this discussion, the Senior Staff employee may present their concern in writing to the cognizant Dean, Vice President, Vice Provost, or Provost within one week. The Dean, Vice President, Vice Provost, Provost or their designee shall consider the issue, make whatever disposition they deem appropriate, and respond to the employee in writing within two weeks.
  • Appeal
    The determination of the Dean, Vice President, Vice Provost, or Provost shall be final except in circumstances where they had direct and immediate involvement in the decision that gave rise to the complaint in the first instance. In this case, an appeal may be made to the Vice President for Human Resources or their designee. Unless the Vice President for Human Resources determines the matter is appropriate for Presidential review, the decision of the Vice President for Human Resources, or their designee, shall be final. 

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6. Cognizant Offices

a. Policy Revisions
Send proposals for policy changes to the Vice President for Human Resources for study and recommendation.

b. Policy Interpretations
Address questions of policy interpretation to the Vice President for Human Resources.

c. Records
Send copies of appeals and dispositions to the Vice President for Human Resources.

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