WFA Answers: Reasonable Job Offers

Reasonable Job Offers

  • What constitutes a reasonable job offer? If relocation beyond the headquarters area is required for a position, is it considered a reasonable job offer? What happens if it is declined?

It is important to note that a “reasonable job offer” (RJO) is technical term that applies to a job offer within the parameters that are set out in the Workforce Adjustment Appendix (WFAA).  Even if you think that the job being offered is neither reasonable nor fair, it may still be considered an RJO as defined in the WFAA.

The definition of a reasonable job offer specific to Part I to VI is “an offer of indeterminate employment within the Core Public Administration, normally at an equivalent level, but which could include lower levels. Surplus employees must be both trainable and mobile. Where practicable, a reasonable job offer shall be within the employee’s headquarters as defined in the Travel Directive.” (Definitions section of the WFAA)

Under the WFAA, a reasonable job offer:

  1. must be for indeterminate employment within the Core Public Administration
  2. will normally be at the same level, but could be for a lower level (in which case the employee would be salary protected).
  3. should be within the employee’s headquarters’ area as defined in the NJC Travel Directive, but this may not always be possible
  4. a RJO could also be an offer from an agency outside the core public service (such as CRA) as long as the salary is not lower, and it is a seamless transfer of all employee benefits including a recognition of years of service for the definition of continuous employment, accrual of benefits, transfer of sick leave credits, and accumulated vacation credits and severance pay.

For employees who are in a workforce adjustment situation due to an Alternative Delivery Initiative (ADI), there is a different definition of a RJO.  Type 1 and Type 2 offers are considered reasonable job offers, while Type 3 offers are not.  For more information, see PSAC’s Info Sheet #10 Alternate Service Delivery Initiatives. 

When a work unit is being relocated, the employees who decide that they do not want to relocate must either be given a guarantee of a reasonable job offer or access to the options available to opting employees (3.1.2).  

Note however, that while departments must “endeavor to respect employee location preferences”, the department can still offer the relocated position as a reasonable job offer after spending as much time “as operations permit” looking for something in the employee’s preferred location (3.1.4).  For other WFA situations, a reasonable job offer could be one that is outside the employee’s preferred location if the employer cannot identify positions in their preferred area.

If an employee refuses a reasonable job offer, they will be laid off, and will receive severance pay (less anything already cashed out), and will be on layoff priority for one year.

  • Government direction to Parks Canada is to increase seasonality of the workforce. Will some full-time, year-round employees become seasonal? Would this be considered a reasonable job offer? At what level of reduction does it become unreasonable?

If you are affected by a workforce adjustment and are offered a reduced season, this would not be considered a reasonable job offer.  If someone is full-time, and their hours are reduced, this may or may not constitute a workforce adjustment situation, depending on the amount of reduction. We advise that you consult with your component representative if you are affected by this situation.

  • On Wednesday I was verbally told that I was being offered relocation, but I must give them my decision by Monday. I thought that they need to put this offer in writing and I have six months to decide.

If your work unit is being relocated, you must have six months to decide. At the end of those six months, if you decide that you do not want to relocate, you will be surplus and either given a guarantee of a reasonable job offer or the options available to opting employees. A relocated position may be considered a reasonable job offer, in some circumstances. We would recommend that you speak to your component representative about your situation and a possible grievance if management is not abiding by the collective agreement.

  • Who is responsible for relocation expenses?

Normally, the employer will pay for relocations in WFA situations, where the employee has to move to a job in a different area. This may not be the case in situations of alternation.  Employees who move to attend school will have to cover their own moving expenses.

  • Do affected employees continue to be paid until the employer makes a GRJO?

There is no time limitation on a guarantee of a reasonable job offer. They must continue to pay you until you receive one. They would normally assign you duties during this period.

  • How does an individual be confident that the employer has done absolutely everything to ensure that one of your options was a RJO?

In a workforce adjustment situation, the employer must first define the affected area, and those doing similar work. Then, the employer must go through a merit process to determine who will be declared surplus.

Once the employer has determined which employees will be declared surplus, they must notify them in writing and give them either a guarantee of a reasonable job offer or declare them “opting” with access to the options provided in 6.3 of the WFA Appendix.

The Treasury Board collective agreements state that “Deputy heads will be expected to provide a guarantee of a reasonable job offer for those affected employees for whom they know or can predict that employment will be available. A deputy head who cannot provide such a guarantee shall provide his or her reasons in writing, if so requested by the employee.”

We recommend that employees who have not been given a guarantee of a reasonable job offer ask for the reasons in writing. If the employer does not provide adequate reasoning, please speak to your component representative about possible recourses.

  • Certain employees have been told that they will receive a RJO that involves relocation. If they are not interested in that, can they alternate with somebody? 

If your work unit is being relocated, you must be notified and given 6 months to decide. At the end of those six months, if you decide that you do not want to relocate, you will be surplus and either given a guarantee of a reasonable job offer or the options available to opting employees. A relocated position may be considered a reasonable job offer, in some circumstances. 

Opting employees can alternate with non-affected employees who wish to leave the public service.

  • If the employer gives us an RJO and we refuse it, does that put us in a layoff position or will we still stay in cue for a job?

If you are in fact declared surplus, and are given a reasonable job offer and refuse it, you can be laid off.  However, in those circumstances, you would have one year of priority entitlement for jobs in the public service.

  • For a reasonable job offer, what is the range for distance? Can the employer expand that?

The range of distance is based on the National Joint Council Travel Directive. It cannot be changed unilaterally by the employer.

  • If the reasonable job offer comes from outside of my city, would I have to take it or risk being fired? 

The Treasury Board collective agreements define a reasonable job offer as “an offer of indeterminate employment within the Core Public Administration, normally at an equivalent level, but which could include lower levels. Surplus employees must be both trainable and mobile. Where practicable, a reasonable job offer shall be within the employee’s headquarters as defined in the Travel Directive.”

A job offer could be considered reasonable if it is outside your headquarters area, if the employer has looked within your area and nothing is available. If you are provided with a reasonable job offer and you refuse, you can be laid off, with severance pay (less anything already cashed out), and a one-year layoff priority for jobs in the public service.  For more information, see

  • The employer wants me to relocate to another city but only gave me four days to make the decision. Is that right?

If your work unit is being relocated, all employees whose positions will be relocated must be notified and given 6 months to decide. At the end of those six months, if you decide that you do not want to relocate, you will be surplus and either given a guarantee of a reasonable job offer or the options available to opting employees. 

If, on the other hand, you have been declared surplus, and they are offering you a relocated position as a “reasonable job offer”, you will have less time to decide. The collective agreement does not specify a time frame.

A relocated position may be considered a reasonable job offer, in some circumstances. The employer must first search for positions within your area. We would also recommend that you speak with your component representative about your specific situation.  

For more information, visit PSAC’s Guarantee of a reasonable job offer – surplus employees page.