Overview

This directive describes priority placement rights for bargaining unit, opted out, excluded, and management employees, and benefit coverage. It also provides information on assessing employees' training potential, selecting employees for comparable positions, placing employees in non-comparable positions and wage opportunities, and inventory requirements.

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.

Employee placement rights

During the 90-day notice period and the 180-day vesting period, employees who select the priority placement option have the right to be placed in any available position that meets the conditions specified in the Collective Agreement or Public Service Employment Regulation (PDF, 880 KB).

The department's human resources office will make every effort to place the affected employee in another position and to notify employees of appropriate vacancies. Employees should also be encouraged to make themselves aware of vacancies.

Recruitment during downsizing

Departments must consider appointing employees whose positions have been abolished before looking at other recruitment strategies. When a vacancy is identified, departments must:

  • check the position abolishment inventory
  • identify employees whose positions have been abolished who may have rights to the vacancy
  • follow up with the employing department
  • determine the appropriate recruitment strategy

Rights for non-management employees

The terms of the Collective Agreement outline bargaining unit employees' rights and the employer's obligations. Unless otherwise noted, the same rights and obligations also apply to opted out or excluded employees.

If the employer does not arrange continuing employment as described in the directive Employee Options and Entitlements and an employee selects the priority placement option, the employee has the right to priority placement under the following conditions:

  • a position is available (anywhere in the public service)
  • the position is comparable
  • the position is in the same general functional area

Interpreting available and comparable

A position is "available" if the department does not have any employees eligible for re-deployment to the position and has declared its intent to recruit to the position.

In determining an employee's rights to priority placement, consider whether the position:

  • is in the same classification or in a classification with the same salary maximum
  • is the same position type
  • requires the employee to perform the same kind of work and similar duties
  • requires many of the same skills and abilities, or would allow the employee to be trained in a reasonable period of time (typically the length of the probationary period)

Assessing training potential

In assessing whether a position abolished employee can be trained in a reasonable amount of time, consider the following:

  • the employee's current qualifications and skill levels
  • the kind of position
  • the employee's willingness and ability to be trained
  • how much time it would take to train an outside candidate
  • the length of the normal probationary period for the position

Placement process

During the first two weeks of the 90-calendar day written notice period, the department will fill all available comparable positions in the same general functional area within the department through competitions limited exclusively to their employees who have received position abolishment notice. (Although there is no obligation to provide the same consideration to management employees, departments may wish to do so in the interest of equal treatment. See the heading Rights for management employees.)

After the first two weeks of the 90-calendar day written notice period and until the expiry of the 180-calendar day vesting period, employees have the right to be placed in any comparable position in the same general functional area within the public service. If more than one employee is eligible for the position, the employees will compete for the position. Participation in these competitions is subject only to referral restrictions stipulated by the employee.

Placement in a non-comparable position or wage opportunity

A non-comparable position is one that does not meet the conditions described under the heading "Interpreting available and comparable". A position abolished employee placed in a temporary position or a position at a lower classification are examples of non-comparable placements. Employees are not obliged to consider or accept a non-comparable referral.

If no position abolished employees have rights to a position, both position abolished and potentially suitable surplus employees may be considered at the same time. Selection is based on merit.

If a department places an employee whose position has been abolished in a non-comparable position or assigns wage work, the employee maintains priority placement rights for the remainder of the 90-calendar day notice period and/or the 180-calendar day vesting period. The employee also remains eligible for consideration for other non-comparable positions that become available. A non-comparable placement does not affect the end date of the vesting period.

If a position abolished employee has been released from the public service but the employee's vesting period has not expired, the employing department may assign the employee to replace an individual receiving wages in the same work unit (as designated by the employing department). The employee must be qualified and able to perform the available work that has the same or similar duties and is within the same classification as the individual receiving wages.

Selecting an employee for a comparable position

When competitions are limited to employees who have been served written notice of position abolishment, a successful candidate must be selected based on merit. If the merit of two or more bargaining unit employees cannot be distinguished, the candidate with the most seniority should be appointed.

Rights for management employees

While more discretion may be used in assessing a manager's eligibility and suitability for placement in another position, consider the factors outlined under the heading Rights for non-management employees, and "Assessing training potential."

The concepts of "comparable" and "in the same general functional area" do not apply to management employees. During the 90-day period before the effective date of position abolishment, managers are entitled to be appointed to the first available position at the same classification and pay zone that they were abolished from and for which they are qualified, or are assessed as having the potential to be trained. A receiving department will determine if the employee can be trained to carry out the responsibilities of the position within a reasonable amount of time.

Benefit coverage

Some benefits are affected when employees accept appointment to an employment group other than the group they were previously assigned to—for example, their classification changes from bargaining unit to opted out or excluded, or from management to opted out or excluded. Employees must fully understand which benefits are affected and how they will change before making a decision.

The following benefits are affected, depending on which classification employees are moving from:

  • if moving from management to bargaining unit: pension plan, group life insurance, dental plan, extended medical plan, prescription drug plan, health spending account, vacation supplement, and Long Term Disability Income (premium deduction and maximum benefit amount); union dues are also deducted
  • if moving from management to opted out or excluded: pension plan and vacation supplement
  • if moving between opted out or excluded and bargaining unit: group life insurance, dental plan, extended medical plan, prescription drug plan, health spending account, and Long Term Disability Income (premium deduction and maximum benefit amount); union dues are also deducted for bargaining unit employees

If a bargaining unit, opted out, or excluded employee is placed in a wage opportunity during the vesting period and qualifies for the benefits of a 1,450-hour employee, the employee must choose between continued coverage in benefits under the Collective Agreement or receiving the one percent instead of benefits specified in the Collective Agreement and the Public Service Employment Regulation (PDF, 880 KB). If the employee qualifies for the benefits of a 2,850-hour employee and has worked 2,850 hours with the same department, their benefits will continue. Employees do not have an option to receive the one percent instead of benefits.

Inventory requirements

The department should immediately enter and update information on the employee's skills along with referral restrictions into the Workforce Adjustment Details module of IMAGIS. In keeping with the freedom of information and protection of privacy legislation, advise the employee that this information will be used throughout the Alberta Public Service in the referral process.

The department's human resources office should record any referral effort made on behalf of an employee whose position has been abolished. This would be useful in responding to potential complaints or legal challenges.

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 June 1, 2013)
Contact: Alberta Public Service Commission:
Labour and Employment Practices; Talent Acquisition and Mobility