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Hiring Freeze Policy

Dear Colleagues,

The policy below addresses more specifically the hiring freeze put into place by Interim President Ikenberry on Jan. 5. It is our intention that this policy adhere to the intention of the hiring freeze while giving sufficient flexibility to continue the business of the university.

Sincerely,

R. Michael Tanner, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
John Loya, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources



The President's January 5th message to the University Community explained the need to conserve cash in FY 2010 and prepare for a potential loss of General Revenue Funding and consequent budget reduction in FY 2011 and beyond. In order to jump start the process of conserving, the President instituted an "absolute" freeze on all hiring. This call to action provides an opportunity to stop and evaluate what must be done in order to prepare for the uncertain future that lies ahead. However, if the University is to continue to provide instruction, research, and service to patients, an absolute freeze cannot persist indefinitely. This document describes policies and procedures that will lead to a tightening up, consistent with the President's message, of the hiring freeze first implemented in December 2008.

For an interim period, while unit budget plans are being developed and reviewed, hiring decisions, which include an expectation of continuing employment will require approval by the Chancellor or Provost. Approval for filling other positions, which are temporary in nature (listed below), will be delegated to the vice chancellors and deans. The purpose of Chancellor/Provost level review is to limit hiring involving state funding to only a very few mission-critical hires, while units reassess their hiring plans to reflect the expectation of decreased state resource availability. Once these plans have been developed, oversight of the hiring process can be delegated to the deans and vice chancellors responsible for implementing those plans.

In order to protect the University's reputation among potential employees and to maintain its integrity, prior commitments must be fulfilled. Written offers extended before January 5, 2010 will be honored, as noted in President Ikenberry's message.  Offers extended verbally before January 5, 2010 will also be honored, based on certification of timing from the dean or vice chancellor.

For searches already underway, suspension or deferral of the search could potentially result in the loss of preferred candidates to other job opportunities. However, until FY 2011 budget reduction plans are complete and approved, units may only update their candidates regarding the process and time frame in which a decision will be made.  Units must then request permission from the appropriate dean or vice chancellor to proceed with searches that are currently under way, but offers may not be extended unless an exception is granted through the process described below.

The first step in preparing to resume a limited amount of hiring is to develop contingency plans to reduce expenditures by a campus-wide total of $45 million in FY 2011. These plans, which are due to BPA by February 15, must be based on sound principles that can stand up to scrutiny. This task will be completed during the FY 2011 budget planning process, described in a memo from Provost Tanner dated January 26, 2010. Once these plans are reviewed, and preliminarily approved by the Provost, critical hiring required to achieve unit objectives, which are consistent with the plan, can commence. The goal is to have this process complete by March 15, 2010. Once budget meetings are concluded, administration of the hiring freeze will be delegated to the deans and vice chancellors.

Until unit plans have been completed, exceptions to the freeze will only be permitted in rare instances when filling a position can be justified as a business necessity. Three criteria will be used in order to establish that hiring someone is a business necessity:

  1. The hire is required for business continuity: documentation must be provided showing why the vacancy cannot be eliminated; why the responsibilities cannot be delegated elsewhere; why the responsibilities cannot be automated; why the position cannot be restructured so that the job can be accomplished by existing staff.

    Or;

  2. The position is needed for net revenue generation: documentation must be provided to demonstrate that the revenue generated is sufficient to cover all costs.

    Or;

  3. The position serves a critical leadership role: documentation must be provided to justify why the position is essential and why it has to be filled at the level proposed.

Evidence must be provided to demonstrate that the unit has the financial resources to sustain the position. Visiting appointments should be used whenever possible to preserve financial flexibility.

Prior to approval of the unit budget reduction plans, exceptions to the hiring freeze will require sign-off by the Chancellor or Provost. Requests for exceptions using the FY 2010 hiring exception form (located at www.uic.edu/depts/hr or www.uic.edu/depts/oaa/fahr should be routed to BPA provostmail@listserv.uic.edu for budget review and then to the Chancellor for vice chancellor units and to the Provost in the case of Academic Affairs units.

Not withstanding anything stated above, there are certain positions that can be filled now because they are temporary (6 months or less), do not impact our ability to bring our budget into line with reduced State support in the future and are consistent with approved FY 2010 rescission plans. The impact of such hiring decisions on approved FY 2010 rescission plans can best be determined by the dean, for academic units, or the vice chancellor for non-academic units. Consequently, approval for hiring of the following categories of temporary employees will be delegated to the deans and vice chancellors:

  1. Post-doctorate Fellows
  2. Pre-doctorate Fellows
  3. Academic hourly
  4. Graduate student hourly
  5. Undergraduate student employees
  6. Extra help
  7. Graduate assistants (TAs and RAs and GAs)
  8. Instructional faculty on term-by-term appointments

Providing care to patients in the UIC Medical Center and Clinics must continue uninterrupted. In addition, staffing sufficient to ensure patient safety is essential.  Consequently, approval for hiring of staff in the UIC Medical Center and Clinics will be delegated to the CEO of the Healthcare System. Hiring approval for other health care professionals not employed by the UIC Medical Center and Clinics, who provide direct patient care, will be delegated to the appropriate dean (Nursing, Medicine Pharmacy, Dentistry, or Applied Health).

Since the objective of the hiring freeze is to generate cash to offset a potential State budget rescission, hiring into positions that are 100% non-State funded will be delegated to the deans and vice chancellors. Employees hired on external funds of finite duration, such as ARRA funds, must be given adequate notice of the end of the funding and of employment. However, to the extent practicable, hiring on non-State funds should be postponed until decisions on reductions in force for State funded positions are made and displaced staff have an opportunity to compete for non-State funded vacancies.

The current process (available at www.uic.edu/depts/hr  or www.uic.edu/depts/oaa/fahr) will be used for reviewing and approving hires delegated to the deans/vice chancellors. Both hiring and exceptions granted will be monitored for periodic reports to the University Administration.