This checklist is intended to be a concise, plain-English and practical summary of the most significant components of a RIF. The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that even historically successful organizations may be forced to reduce employee headcount to maintain economic viability. The collective bargaining agreement or federal labor laws likely will require notice to and bargaining with the union about the effects of the RIF, and the agreement may require the company to use certain criteria (such as seniority) or procedures ("bumping") in selecting people for separation. The economy may change and, with luck, an employer may in a few months wish to rehire a worker that was part of a RIF this month. Supervisors who are not emotionally equipped to deliver bad news (and face employees' anger and tears) are likely to make mistakes and put the employer at risk. There should be two management personnel in the exit meeting: a spokesperson and a "non-speaking" witness. Communication skills are important for anyone in IT, as information technology professionals are often required to work across many teams and groups. Severance pay generally is not required by law unless a) the employer previously has committed to pay it (by employment contract, collective bargaining agreement, or severance pay plan), b) there is a state or local requirement, or c) it is being paid as "consideration" to obtain an employee's signature on a release/waiver of claims against the employer. Consistency in RIF selection criteria among successive RIFs is desirable but not essential if the RIFs in fact vary in size, scope and/or motivation. The occupation/critical skill must be on the Critical Skills list. Critical Skills Employment Permit is issued for an initial period of two years, after which it can normally be renewed indefinitely. An incomplete application not meeting the above requirements will not be accepted. Pay. Duration and renewal of an employment permit. Who will qualify for a critical skills work permit? The application processing times are on the Department’s website. It allows workers holding this visa to visit South Africa and search for a job. Valid passport which expires no less than 30 days after the expiry of the intended date of departure from the Republic 2. You are the spouse/civil partner/de facto partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit or of a Researcher on a Hosting Agreement. Make plans to exclude departing personnel from the building and computer/telephone systems immediately after being informed of their separations. To apply under the Skilled Migrant Category you must be aged 55 or under, meet the skill level for your occupation, and meet … Perform a "disparate impact" analysis of the preliminary list of persons to be released by comparing their demographics with those of workers to be retained in order to ensure that employees in protected classes are not inadvertently being selected for separation at a higher rate than their percentages in the workforce. Voluntary RIFs frequently are complicated, sometimes controversial and subject to litigation so a) ensure that there are a limited number of very well-informed company representatives who are designated to answer employee questions and that other (less-informed) management personnel are instructed not to speak to employees about the plan or the process; b) send employees with questions to only those designated company representatives; and c) carefully craft all internal and external announcements, explanatory memoranda and other communications to ensure clarity, completeness and accuracy. Such ratings and rankings should be as objective as possible, and employers should compare an employee's RIF-related ratings/rankings to the employee's prior performance evaluations to ensure there are no suspicious, inexplicable discrepancies). ☐ Determine severance benefits. The employees, the U.S. Agreements for management-level employees typically are longer and more comprehensive than those for non-management employees. CRITICAL SKILLS WORK VISA APPLICATION PLEASE NOTE THAT SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS MUST BE IN THE ORDER OUTLINED BELOW WHEN SUBMITTING THE APPLICATION AT THE COUNTER Attached Yes No 1. Be careful: It is important to comply precisely with the requirements to avoid penalties or lawsuits. EEA and Swiss nationals do not need an employment permit. Limit the dissemination of sensitive documents and data, and password-protect electronic RIF documents and communications among decision-makers and advisors. for a critical skills visa Career Toolkit Foreign-national students at UCT can have particular challenges when securing work in SA. often leads to catastrophe avoidance. NB - A request for a Support Letter for a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder seeking a Stamp 4 cannot be processed until the permit holder has completed 21 months working in the State. Where there is no offer of employment a critical skills visa shall be issued for a period not exceeding one year. DISCLAIMER: Please note that the situation surrounding COVID-19 is evolving and that the subject matter discussed in these publications may change on a daily basis. ☐ Minimize PR problems. Employees can be informed about the future (as it then appears to management), warned that there will be a normal adjustment period in light of the reduced jobs/staff, and enlisted to help the company stabilize and prosper. ☐ Conduct reality checks. Passport valid for no less than 30 days after expiry of intended visit. Management should carefully avoid promises about the future because additional RIFs/terminations/restructurings might be necessary. ☐ Be consistent. Applying for a Critical Skills Permit for South Africa. Since it is possible that support staff of decision-makers might otherwise be able to access emails and other confidential information pertaining to the RIF process, it is advisable to confirm in advance which decision-makers allow staff personnel access to their email). Supervisors should be instructed (in writing) not to make threats, promises or misrepresentations to force or induce employees to leave. 1 0 obj This is a permit issued to applicants in possession of exceptional skills or qualifications that are scarce in South Africa. Renewal applications should be submitted at least three months before the date of expiration. Lovemore Kunorozva, a Zimbabwean PhD candidate, relates his experience of securing a critical-skills visa. The hallmark of Holland & Knight's success has always been and continues to be legal work of the highest quality, performed by well prepared lawyers who revere their profession and are devoted to their clients. ☐ Ensure security. DJEI will shortly introduce a new range of employment permits. <>/Metadata 587 0 R/ViewerPreferences 588 0 R>> Changes affecting Revised Immigration Arrangements non-EEA national spouses and de facto partners of persons who have permission to reside in Ireland on the basis of a Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) take effect from 6 March, 2019. (However, be careful of "special deals": Enhanced severance benefits for a select few employees can generate discrimination lawsuits.) <> $.' Most employers want departing employees to sign a legally binding document releasing the company from any claims and bringing the employment relationship to an amicable end without legal controversy. ☐ Prepare the papers (and waivers). Furloughed employees do not perform work, are not paid and typically do not receive severance or pay-out of paid time off (PTO) at the commencement of the furlough (though some states do require that PTO be paid). Most employers use at least a) an announcement of the voluntary RIF in which the eligibility criteria, available severance benefits and deadline dates are clearly set forth, and b) a separation agreement with a comprehensive release of claims. RIF-related laws include: ☐ Gather but selectively disseminate data. Think about the value of obtaining promises from departing employees of non-disparagement, confidentiality, and non-solicitation of customers or other employees. ☐ Gather materials necessary for the exit meetings. Will the RIF create any deferred compensation/Section 409A issues? Communications from management, ideally in person, often speed a return to normality. The laws are numerous, often complex, sometimes conflicting in their requirements and include prohibitions with harsh penalties for non-compliance, and frequently are the basis for both individual and class-action lawsuits against the prior employers. Eligible employees must be given time to consider carefully their options (and seek advice of counsel) before being required to make a decision and should be given the RIF information (including a copy of the separation agreement they will be expected to sign) well in advance of the decision deadline. Formally assess — as part of the planning process — the potential for violence, sabotage and theft by employees to be included in the RIF. Individuals that are permitted for Ireland Work Permit need to fulfil criteria like: The applicant should have a contract to work. ☐ Determine its scope. Public relations are important. The South Africa Critical Skills Work Visa is aimed at skilled professionals whose occupation is on the critical shortage occupation list. Discharged workers seem more ready to accept their fates (and severance packages offered in exchange for waivers of claims) if they know in advance that the organization is in financial trouble. So be careful about what is written and how it is phrased: A jury may be looking over your shoulder in two years. Thus, employers should consider telling workers in general terms about economic difficulties before a RIF is announced. If an applicant is seeking a work permit (other than the Critical Skills Employment Permit), then the employer must clear the Labour Markets Needs Test. This demographic data obviously is very sensitive so should have very limited circulation and should not be given to those persons selecting employees for separation before they make those decisions so that it cannot later be claimed that an employee's protected status was any factor in his or her selection for separation. The WARN Act and any applicable state "plant closing" laws might require, and collective bargaining agreements generally do require, that the employer furnish notice of the RIF (and, often, some basic information about it, such as the numbers of employees being released and the timing of the separations). ☐ Provide necessary notices. The most common RIF goals are to reduce payroll expenses and to better align personnel resources with available work. Below is a checklist of the documentation required to apply for a Critical Skills employment permit. 2 0 obj The usual issues are much more complicated now — during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis — with the overlay of the rapidly enacted and untested pandemic laws and regulations. Given the complexity of the applicable laws, and the desire to have the agreements be binding and enforceable to bar future claims, the agreements should be prepared or reviewed by counsel before presentation to the departing employees. Copyright © 1996–2021 Holland & Knight LLP. ☐ Identify any immigration issues. ��4��ylN�XFcd7l���E�N��!g]D���V,� �y�ј�hA��Z���بP�Ga����i�x`9�n�wxˎ��Zh����pT�8�����fW�ᶅ�cu6}W.@ Keep the RIF working papers and analyses in locked storage when not in use. If your application is refused, you must be given the specific reasons it was refused. Is the RIF going to eliminate job titles (perhaps by combining two jobs into one) or reduce the number of people in certain jobs, or both? An involuntary RIF often can be conceived, planned and implemented in seven to 10 days in smaller organizations, but larger employers will require more time to ensure that the process is thoughtful and legally defensible. Ensure that the overall business and its individual departments and production lines can continue to function after the RIF (the use of "before" and "after" reporting relationships and staffing charts often are helpful), and that the RIF is not inadvertently eliminating persons with critical skills. ☐ Ensure "voluntary" is really "voluntary." A "years of service plus age" protocol is relatively common, i.e., the employee is eligible for separation with a severance package if the employee's years of service plus his or her age exceed a number selected by the employer to achieve its headcount reduction goal. We will accept requests received after 20 months however they … stream Because of this visa, some employers are willing to give you a job offer if you qualify for a critical skill. What if only the best workers opt to leave? Do not send any privileged or confidential information to the firm through this website. 4 0 obj <>/XObject<>/Font<>/ProcSet[/PDF/Text/ImageB/ImageC/ImageI] >>/MediaBox[ 0 0 595.32 841.92] /Contents 4 0 R/Group<>/Tabs/S/StructParents 0>> ☐ Identify the selection criteria. Various recommended employer strategies for RIFs also provide protection in furloughing personnel. It is important to assess ERISA issues early in the planning process and consider such questions as: Are the terms of the proposed voluntary RIF program consistent with the terms of the employer's retirement plan and applicable benefits laws? 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