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Division of Human Resources

Guide to Cost Saving Programs

The University of South Carolina depends on careful management of all resources as it carries out its mission of educating the state’s citizens through teaching, research, creative activity, and community engagement.  At times, events such as reductions in funding, reorganization, or work shortages require difficult decisions regarding the size and composition of our workforce.  Cost saving programs are designed to assist departments in managing costs and tailoring the workforce to better meet current and future needs.

All cost saving programs must be implemented in accordance with university policy and state regulations.   Certain measures require review and approval of the South Carolina Department of Administration, Division of State Human Resources as well as approval by the university Division of Human Resources.  

The Division of Human Resources is available to answer questions, provide guidance, and offer support as you consider which options best fit your situation.


Cost Saving Programs Webinar (requires your UofSC Net ID and password)
Cost Saving Programs Webinar Slides
Cost Saving Programs FAQ


Cost Saving Programs

A reduction in force is a defined process to eliminate FTE positions for one or more of the following reasons: reorganization, work shortage, loss of funding or outsourcing/privatization. Employees affected by a RIF may be:

  • involuntarily separated,
  • involuntary demotion,
  • reassigned, or receive a
  • reduction in work hours.

Reductions in force only apply to employees covered by the State Employee Grievance Procedure Act. Non-covered employees (Probationary, Temporary, Research Grant, etc.) within the identified area should be separated prior to implementing actions that will affect covered FTE employees. Employees affected by a RIF will have bumping, recall and reinstatement rights.

All RIF plans must be developed in consultation with the Division of Human Resources. Prior to execution the RIF plan must be approved by the Division of State Human Resources.

Cost savings are achieved through reductions in salary and fringe expenditures.

The Retirement Incentive Program (RIP) is a management tool that provides an incentive for employees to voluntarily retire. It allows departments to purchase service credit on behalf of employees who are currently eligible to retire or to purchase the amount of time necessary to make employees eligible to retire.

Only employees in FTE positions who are participants in a state defined benefits retirement plan (SCRS or PORS) are eligible to participate. Participants must retire and separate from service with the University of South Carolina no later than the plan’s effective date. Employees may participate in only one separation incentive program.

Participating employees cannot be reemployed into an FTE position at the university for two years from the date of their separation.

The RIP is not an employee entitlement. Instead, the program must be part of a strategic plan initiated by the department’s senior leadership. Developed in coordination with the Division of Human Resources, each plan must be approved by the university and the Division of State Human Resources prior to making any announcement to the department’s workforce.

Program guidelines require units to demonstrate recurring cost savings within two fiscal years, beginning with the fiscal year in which the separation occurs.

The Voluntary Separation Program (VSP) is a management tool that provides an incentive for employees to voluntarily separate or retire. The program allows departments to provide a financial incentive for an employee to retire or separate. The maximum amount of the incentive may not exceed one year of the employee's base salary, although the university may apply additional limits.

Only employees in FTE positions are eligible to participate. Employees who are exempt from the State Employee Grievance Procedure Act are not eligible to participate. Employees may participate in only one separation incentive program.

Participating employees cannot be reemployed into an FTE position with the State of South Carolina for two years from the date of their separation unless the employee reimburses the university on a pro-rata basis for the benefits received.

The VSP is not an employee entitlement. Instead, the program must be part of a strategic plan initiated by the department’s senior leadership. Developed in coordination with the Division of Human Resources, each plan must be approved by the university and the Division of State Human Resources prior to making any announcement to the department’s workforce.

Program guidelines require units to demonstrate recurring cost savings within two fiscal years, beginning with the fiscal year in which the separation occurs.

The university may implement a mandatory furlough if the general funds appropriated by the state are less than the previous fiscal year or when specifically approved by the legislature.

During a mandatory furlough employees must take a temporary unpaid leave of absence of not more than twenty (20) working days in a fiscal year. Furlough days may be taken consecutively or can be spread throughout the fiscal year, at the discretion of the university. During a mandatory furlough, employees are entitled to participate in the same state benefits as otherwise available to them, except for receiving their salaries. The university may spread out the reduction of pay across several pay periods, or over the balance of the fiscal year, to mitigate the effect of the furlough to the employee’s paycheck

A mandatory furlough is a campus level decision and must be approved by the Division of State Human Resources. If implemented, additional information will be provided.

Cost savings are achieved through a reduction in salary expenditures; fringe benefit costs continue during a furlough.

The university may implement a voluntary furlough at any time as approved by the President.

During a voluntary furlough, employees may elect to take up to ninety (90) working days of unpaid absence in a fiscal year. The department and participating employee must mutually agree upon when the voluntary furlough days will be taken.

During a voluntary furlough, employees are entitled to participate in the same state benefits as otherwise available to them, except for receiving a salary. An employee will continue to accrue annual and sick leave while on voluntary furlough Approval of a request is at the sole discretion of the hiring unit.

Cost savings are achieved through reductions in salary expenditures. Benefits continue to be paid during a voluntary furlough.

Additional Cost Saving Initiatives

For a period of time discretionary pay increases, bonus payments and cash awards may be suspended.

Maintains cash reserves, savings realized against planned or historic expenditures.

Employees may request a voluntary reduction in hours. Approval of such requests is at the discretion of the hiring unit and must be in line with department’s ability to successfully continue its mission.

Units must coordinate with Human Resources Department of Classification and Compensation to ensure that appropriate documentation is obtained to record the voluntary nature of this action.

Cost savings may be achieved through salary and fringe savings if job functions are not transferred to other employees or are transferred to other employees at a lower cost.


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