WFA Answers: WFA Process

WFA Process

  • Is is beneficial for us to make the SERLO process take as long as possible? What tools do we have at our disposal to ensure the SERLO process takes as long as possible?

The selection process is a process that will be determined by the employer. The timelines are at the employer’s discretion, as long as they fulfill the requirements set out in the Public Service Employment Act and the Public Service Commission’s Guide on the Selection of Employees for Retention or Layoff.

  • What can be done for members that are going through the retention process even though others in the same province and commodity don’t have to? 

If there are problems with the merit process in your workplace, contact your component. Also, see more information about the merit process.

  • Our letter states we have 120 days to choose one of three options, yet HR wants us to make up our minds soon. What happened to the 120 days?

You have 120 days from your surplus date, in accordance with the collective agreement, to make your decision.  Management cannot force you to make a decision sooner than that. 

  • I have been given an “affected” letter without surplus or layoff (SURLO), meaning that the position may no longer be required. My options seem so limited and I don’t know what to do.

If you believe your position will probably disappear, you can take one of the following steps.

  1. Request retraining from your department to assist you in getting a deployment to existing or anticipated vacancies. The department is required to make every reasonable effort to provide retraining.
  2. Request the Deputy Head to give you surplus priority or access to the rights provided opting employees, if you can demonstrate your duties have already ceased to exist.
  3. Do nothing and wait to see what happens if the Deputy Head ultimately decides your services are no longer required.
  • In my office, six employees have to compete for three remaining jobs. One employee is waiting because she thinks if she runs for the competition and loses, the 120 days terminates at the time the decision is made on the successful candidates. Is this correct?

Surplus employees (not affected employees) are given 120 days to decide on their options once they have been formally declared surplus (with no guarantee of a reasonable job offer).

The employer will first do a merit process to determine which affected employees will be declared surplus. After the merit process, the employer should then declare some employees surplus and at that time, if they are not given a guarantee of a reasonable job offer, they would be given 120 days to make a decision about the options. If some employees decide they do not want to take part in the merit process, they can indicate this to management, and management may then declare them surplus

  • Managers and independent third parties have been brought into our workplace to work through the SERLO process (Selection of Employees for Retention or Lay-Off). Where is this SERLO process described?

For information about this process, see PSAC’s Work force adjustment and merit page, or the Public Service Commission’s guide on the selection of employees for retention or lay-off.

  • Many employees have been 3-5 years in an acting assignment due to staffing restrictions. If the acting position is surplused, does the person automatically get their substantive job back, even though it may have been staffed behind them?

Employees are only subject to the Workforce Adjustment Agreement if the WFA situation applies to their substantive position.

Therefore, if you are working in another area and your substantive position is affected by a workforce adjustment situation, you will be provided with notice and you must be included in any assessment processes and provided with the rights under the WFAA. 

If you are acting in a position in another work area and your acting position is affected by a workforce adjustment situation, you will not be included in the assessment for retention or layoff, since you will be able to return to your substantive position.  

Note that an acting employee will not be retained in an acting position in place of an indeterminate employee who is to be laid off. Therefore it is possible that you may have to return to your substantive position before the original end date of the acting assignment. 

  • What are the timelines and options for those part time employees that have been notified in writing that they are “affected”?

Part-time indeterminate employees are treated the same and have the same rights as full-time indeterminate employees under the workforce adjustment appendix. They can also apply for any jobs within the public service. 

  • My manager advised me that my position was being eliminated in one month. He did not give any further details about the decision making process or what happens after that date. What should I be expecting in the coming days? It doesn’t seem fair for management to leave me in the dark.

If your services are no longer required due to a workforce adjustment situation, you must be notified in writing that you are a surplus employee, and provided with either a guarantee of a reasonable job offer, or access to the options for opting employees.  You should consult your local union representative for assistance.

  • What work will I be doing while opting, and who assigns it? Can my boss ask me to perform the duties of my colleague should she leave before me?

When you are in your surplus period, the employer can assign you duties. You must perform the duties assigned to you, unless you feel your health or safety is threatened. Otherwise, you could be subject to discipline. An important rule to remember is that you must, “work now, grieve later”; that is, perform the work and contact your union representative if you wish to file a grievance.

  • In a spouse situation where both husband and wife work for the same department and one spouse becomes affected and offered a position in another geographical location, would the employer provide their unaffected partner with a position in that geographic location, as well?

An employee whose spouse has to relocate can apply for “leave without pay for the relocation of spouse”. In that case, the employee on leave will be placed on a priority list for jobs in their new area. See your collective agreement for information about those provisions.

The employee can also look for positions within the new area. There is no provision for relocation of spouses within the workforce adjustment agreement. However, you may inquire with your manager about possible relocation.

  • Are affected employees supposed to continue their duties until they decide what option to choose, if they’re not given a RJO?

“Affected” employees are employees that may become surplus.  Their jobs are still necessary, until the employer determines which employees will actually become surplus (employees whose services are no longer required). When an employee is declared surplus, if they are not provided with a guarantee of a reasonable job offer, they will have 120 days to decide on 3 options, plus the possibility of alternating with a non-affected employee.  During the affected period and the 120 days, you will continue to be paid and assigned duties. 

  • Could you give examples of what would warrant a grievance in the workforce adjustment process?

Grievances can be filed when the employer violates the provisions of the collective agreement.   

If you think the employer may have violated the collective agreement, speak to your component representative.

For information about this process, see PSAC’s Work force adjustment and merit page, or the Public Service Commission’s guide on the selection of employees for retention or lay-off. You can also refer to PSAC’s Work Force Adjustment Appendix page.