Policy 125 - Separation from Employment

Section: Employment
Policy Number: 125
Responsible Office: HR/HR Services
Effective Date: 4/1/01
Clarified: 1/1/10; 2/6/19
Revised: 10/1/02; 7/13/03; 11/24/15; 4/12/18


Employees whose terms and conditions of employment are not governed by a contract or collective bargaining are employed “at will.” Refer to University policy #101 Employment at Will.

Categories of Separation

  • Resignation: This occurs when the employee leaves his or her employment at the University on his or her own initiative. The University expects employees to give a minimum of two weeks notice of separation; however, a greater notice period is preferred for administrators. 
  • Job Abandonment: Absent extenuating circumstances, employees who are not on an approved leave and fail to report to work for three consecutive business days without notifying their manager of the reason for the absence may be deemed to have abandoned their job.  Managers shall inform HR Services if an employee has not reported to work for three consecutive days and not communicated the reason for the absence.  
  • Retirement: This is a voluntary separation by an employee who meets all of the University’s retirement eligibility criteria. An employee is eligible to retire when he or she is at least 55 years of age, and he or she has at least 10 years of full-time service at St. John’s, and his or her combined age and years of full-time University service equal 75 years or more. Retirement benefits differ for faculty; they should refer to the Collective Bargaining Agreement for information on retirement and benefits.
  • Termination: Reasons for involuntary termination may include, but are not limited to, misconduct, unsatisfactory work performance, absenteeism, insubordination, violations of University policy or rules, dishonesty, illegal acts, conflicts of interest, or any act deemed inconsistent with the University’s mission. When practical, employees will be warned and counseled per the University policy #702 Corrective Action; however, failure to correct behavior or further violation of University policy may result in additional disciplinary action, up to and including termination. The University reserves the right to terminate any employee without warning or prior notice. The decision to terminate an employee requires prior consultation with HR Services. 

All terminated employees will be paid in accordance with state and federal laws. Earned but unused vacation time will be paid as per University policy #401 Vacation Time.

Supervisor’s Responsibilities

When an employee separates from the University, supervisors shall:

  • Complete an EPCF (Electronic Personnel Change Form) including the employee’s accrued, unused vacation balance and forward the resignation letter, if applicable, to HR Services as soon as a date of separation is established. For involuntary terminations, HR Services will prepare a termination letter to be provided to the employee upon termination. 
  • Retrieve any applicable computer and telecommunication equipment (cell phone, laptop, radio, etc.), and cancel email accounts and logins. Retrieve keys, ID cards, parking passes, and other University property that can allow the employee to gain access to restricted areas following termination.
  • Remind the employee that Tuition Remission terminates on the last day of employment, unless the employee is a qualifying retiree.
  • Inform the employee that health insurance coverage ceases upon the last day of the month in which the employee is terminated or resigns. Make the employee aware that the Benefits office will be in contact with him or her regarding options for continuation of coverage under COBRA or a retiree plan, as applicable.
  • Inform the employee that the Office of Human Resources provides all terminated employees with state unemployment forms.
  • Inform the employee that the HR Services department will contact the employee to schedule an Exit Interview.

The Human Resources off-boarding emails for departing employees and their managers are posted on the HR Forms webpage;  or see below for direct links: need to ensure the most current, revised checklists are included here:

Manager Offboarding Checklist (Word)

Departing Employee Checklist (Word)

Status of Benefits

Upon separation from University employment, employees may be eligible for certain benefits, as described below. In the case of retirement, refer to policy #620, Benefits for Retired Employees.

Vacation: Upon separation from employment, employees will be paid for the cash value of any earned but unused vacation time accumulated in the current year. An employee will not be paid for vacation time that has not accrued as of the date of termination, and to which the employee is not otherwise entitled. Nor will an employee be paid for carryover days accumulated from prior years. Unused sick time, personal time and holidays have no cash value.

Health Insurance: Employees and their spouse/dependents enrolled in a University sponsored medical and/or dental plan are notified of their rights to continue coverage under COBRA upon separation from employment.

Life Insurance: Employees have the option to convert their group life insurance policy to an individual policy upon termination.

Tuition Remission: Benefits cease for employees and their spouse/children upon termination of employment. The amount of tuition will be prorated for the semester.

Tuition Exchange Program: TEP benefits cease at the end of the semester in which the employee is terminated.

Retirement Plan: Employees have several options upon separation from employment, including leaving their accumulated balance in the current account, rolling over the balance into another qualified plan or into an IRA, and making a cash withdrawal. Refer to policy #607, Retirement Plans, for more detailed information or contact the Benefits Office for the plan documents.

St. John's University, New York
Human Resources Policy Manual