This directive describes the process for identifying and selecting positions and employees for position abolishment. It also provides an overview of the position abolishment process, including the verbal notice, written notice and vesting periods. It shows a sample timeline and describes the deputy ministers' responsibility and the role of the Public Service Commission (PSC) role in the process.

Unless otherwise specified, this directive applies to bargaining unit, opted out, excluded, and management employees whose positions are abolished.

Please note: This is suspended to March 30, 2020 for permanent Bargaining Unit employees due to Letter of Understanding #17 in the Collective Agreement (Employment Security). Bargaining Unit employees must refer to the Collective Agreement for the most current information.

Determining positions for abolishment

This section applies to bargaining unit employees.

Workforce adjustment can result from restructuring, reorganization, privatization or fiscal restraint. The Alberta government will make a reasonable effort to reduce its workforce through attrition prior to and during position abolishment.

In identifying positions, the department will determine the functions within a work unit that are to be abolished.

When similar employees are to have their position abolished, the department will abolish the positions in reverse order of seniority, providing those retained are qualified and able to perform the work remaining to be done. Seniority is defined as the length of continuous employment with the employer from the most recent date of hire. Two or more permanent employees performing the same or similar functions within a classification, at a location and work unit are considered similar employees.

Verbal notice period

When an employee's position is abolished, normally the employee is verbally notified in advance. When a bargaining unit employee's position is abolished, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) must be given advance prior 30 calendar days' notification in advance of any formal position abolishment. For information on verbally notifying employees of position abolishment, see the directive Notice of Position Abolishment.

Employees who have been given verbal notification are considered surplus employees. For information on placing a surplus employee in another position, see the directive Surplus Employees.

Written notice period

Employees are also entitled to 90 calendar days' written notice of position abolishment. For information on notifying employees in writing, see the directive Notice of Position Abolishment.

Once employees receive written notice, they are considered position abolished employees. For information on employees' eligibility for position abolishment entitlements, see the directive Employee Eligibility for Position Abolishment Entitlements.

During the written notice period, employees select one of the options described in the directive Employee Options and Entitlements. If they are not employed in the Alberta Public Service at the end of the written notice period, they are released from the public service.

Vesting period

At the end of the written notice period, a 180-calendar day vesting period begins (see the directive Vesting Period). If employees waive their vested rights or are not employed in the Alberta Public Service in any capacity at the end of the vesting period, they are entitled to position abolishment severance pay (see the directive Position Abolishment Severance Pay).

Sample timeline

The following sample shows the critical dates and specific requirements of the position abolishment process.

March 7 Advance notification to AUPE for bargaining unit employees. The union is normally advised in writing and the employee is advised verbally at the same time.
March 8 Start of employee's surplus period and 30-calendar day verbal notice period.
April 6 Verbal notice period ends.
April 7 Employee (and union for bargaining unit employees) notified of position abolishment in writing. (Note: The effective date of the written position abolishment notice must fall on a work day.)
April 8 Start of 90-calendar day written notice period.
April 21 Last day to take separation payment for restructuring (2 weeks from date of receipt of written notice).
July 6 Last day of 90-calendar day written notice period. Notice period expires. Last day of employment.
July 7 Start of 180-calendar day vesting period. Day position is abolished.
January 2 Last day of 180-calendar day vesting period. Vesting expires.

Deputy head responsibility and role of PSC

The deputy head is responsible for applying the position abolishment provisions for employees in their departments. Departments are also responsible for entering and maintaining current information on affected employees, in the IMAGIS System.

PSC helps departments to downsize or adjust their workforce by:

  • providing interpretation on position abolishment directives, guidelines, and related Collective Agreement articles and practices
  • providing information packages for employees whose positions are abolished
  • providing advice on the application of employee benefits

About this directive

Authority: Collective Agreement, Article 15
Public Service Employment Regulation (PDF, 880 KB)
Application: Organizations under the Public Service Act
Effective Date: October 1, 2002 (updated November 1, 2011)
Contact: Alberta Public Service Commission:
Labour and Employment Practices; Talent Acquisition and Mobility