The following frequently asked questions offer executives and managers key information on career transition for executives such as notification, alternation, career transition agreements, surplus, leave, pay and benefits, deployments and Interchange Canada Assignments and reappointments.
This document is being issued for information purposes. The Directive on Career Transition for Executives must be consulted when dealing with a career transition situation. In the event of a discrepancy between the information contained in this document and the provisions of the Directive on Career Transition for Executives, the Directive prevails.
The Directive on Career Transition for Executives describes the facilitation of executive career transition in situations of lack of work, discontinuance of a function or transfer of work or function outside the federal public administration.
Generally speaking, the Directive on Career Transition for Executives applies only to members of the Executive Group. Other senior-level groups may decide to benchmark their terms and conditions of employment on the Policy on the Management of Executives and its directives, including Career Transition; however, specific provisions will be found in their respective terms and conditions of employment.
In contrast, other indeterminate employees of the core public administration are generally subject to the relevant Work Force Adjustment agreements.
Although there are many differences between the two instruments, the major difference lies in the fact that the workforce adjustment provisions provide the deputy head with the discretion to provide a guaranteed reasonable job offer, while the Directive on Career Transition for Executives does not provide for the guarantee of a reasonable job offer before an executive is laid off.
Career transition is where the services of an executive are no longer required by reason of lack of work, the discontinuance of a function or the transfer of a function outside of the federal public administration. Executives must choose between leaving the core public administration and seeking continuing employment within the core public administration.
For executives who choose to leave the core public administration, the Directive on Career Transition for Executives provides deputy heads with a series of cash and non-cash elements, which may be provided to executives whose positions have been declared surplus, in the form of a career transition agreement designed to assist the executives in leaving the core public administration.
For executives who choose to seek continued employment within the core public administration, the Directive instructs organizations to notify the Public Service Commission of the executives' surplus status with their consent, so that the Commission and the organization can assist the executives in finding other positions.
If only some, but not all similar executive positions will be eliminated, management will determine which executives will be retained and which may be laid off.
Consult the Public Service Commission's Guide on the Selection of Executives for Retention or Lay-off for more information.
No. Career transition is when an executive's position is declared surplus due to lack of work, discontinuance of a function or the transfer of a function outside of the federal public administration.
There are other mechanisms available to deputy heads to address cases of right fit, discipline or poor performance, such as the Performance Management Program for Executives and the Guidelines for Termination or Demotion for Unsatisfactory Performance; Termination or Demotion for Reasons Other than Breaches of Discipline or Misconduct; and Termination of Employment During Probation.
First and foremost, career plans should be discussed during the performance management review and talent management exercise undertaken mid-year and at the end of each fiscal year.
Various retirement incentives are currently available such as:
In cases where a work unit is to be relocated, deputy heads shall provide the executives with a written notice of the opportunity to choose whether they wish to move with their position or be treated as if they were subject to the Directive on Career Transition for Executives.
According to the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), in order for a resignation to be valid, the executive must have resigned by giving the deputy head (or delegate) notice in writing of his or her intention to resign, and the deputy head or delegate must have accepted it in writing, specifying the date upon which the employment is terminated. Once a resignation has been accepted under the terms of the PSEA, it is binding.
However, there could be situations where the deputy head or delegate determines that the resignation, once accepted, was not valid because the decision was not voluntary or because the executive did not have the capacity to make such a decision. Since the resignation is valid only if it is voluntary, the deputy head or delegate should give careful consideration to the specific circumstances.
Executives should contact their organization's Executive Services for information on executive management policies.
Heads of Executive Services who require an interpretation of the Directive may contact the Interpretations team of the Executive Management Policies (EMP) team at the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer.
As deputy heads have the delegated authority for all matters related to the negotiation of a career transition agreement, it is at their discretion to determine how long executives should have to decide whether to resign or seek further employment in the core public administration.
However, executives should be given enough time to consider their personal circumstances and to seek the information required to make this decision (i.e. financial and/or pension considerations, employment prospects, etc.).
There is no set definition of what is a sufficient notice period; however, in career transition cases and in a situation where every organization is looking at reductions, departments should consider their operational requirements, the executive's individual circumstances and employment prospects as well as the broader government perspective when determining a sufficient notice period.
Executives can grieve a notice period under the Public Service Labour Relations Act grievance procedure, and the final grievance response could be subject to judicial review by the Federal Court.
The Directive on Career Transition for Executives is silent on this mechanism. However, the deputy head may offer alternation to executives in the core public administration.
An alternation occurs when executives who have been notified that their position will become surplus exchange positions with executives whose positions are not declared surplus and are willing to leave.
The decision to alternate can occur between the date on which the executives have been notified that their positions will be declared surplus and the date on which the executives have to respond back to the department on their choice of option.
An alternation must occur between executives at the same group and level in the core public administration.
It is at the discretion of the deputy heads to decide, however, whether a proposed alternation will result in retaining the skills required to meet the ongoing needs of the position in the core public administration. An alternation must permanently eliminate a function or a position.
Deputy heads may also allow executives who chose option 2 (seek continued employment in the core public administration) to alternate during the surplus period. The deputy head can negotiate a career transition agreement with the alternate taking into account the time already spent in surplus status.
The appointment or deployment to the non-surplus position is subject to the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), this includes meeting the language requirements.
Yes, but the deputy head must approve the negotiated settlement and remains accountable for it.
Deputy heads have the authority to negotiate individual career transition agreements and are responsible for covering the costs of each agreement within their organizations, with the exception of the pension reduction waiver and severance pay.
In situations where executives are appointed from the surplus priority list, home organizations shall pay the salary maintenance costs (i.e. difference between the salary of the substantive position and the salary of the lower-level position) for a period of one year. After a year, host organizations cover the full salary. The home organization shall pay for all other authorized costs, such as relocation. However, the deputy head could negotiate with the host organization to absorb all or part of these costs.
Career transition agreements should be tailored to the circumstances of each executive. The elements of transition support should be determined on the basis of, for example, the executive's years of service or outside employment prospects.
For more information on the details of each element, please consult the table in the Appendix C of the Directive.
The career transition agreement is tailored to each person, depending on his or her individual circumstances, the organization's operational requirements and the broader government perspective. The major considerations are the executive's years of service, eligibility to receive an annual allowance, immediate annuity or full pension, or outside employment prospects.
With the exception of a pension reduction waiver, career transition agreements are funded from organizational budgets.
Deputy heads have the authority to negotiate individual career transition agreements, which include the lump sum payment in lieu of working the notice period. Consequently, deputy heads may grant more than the recommended maximum of 52 weeks subject to availability of funds in their budget.
Deputy heads will consider their operational requirements, the executive's individual circumstances and employment prospects, as well as the broader government perspective when determining a sufficient payment in lieu of notice.
Yes, the majority of elements negotiated in a career transition agreement are taxable, with the exception of outplacement and financial counseling. The taxable elements include:
For more information about tax implications and deductions, consult the Canada Revenue Agency.
In order to be referred by the Public Service Commission, priority persons must have signed a Privacy Consent Form before they can be registered in the Priority Information Management System by their home organization. Consent to have information entered into the Priority Information Management System is voluntary and priority persons may, without prejudice, request that their information not be entered into the Priority Information Management System.
Executives should, however, be informed that such action will make administering their priority entitlement difficult, as the Public Service Commission has no other automated means to match priority people to positions for which they may be qualified and does not have an effective means to make such matches manually. The onus would, therefore, be on the priority people to monitor vacancies and personally contact organizations if they consider themselves to be qualified.
Please consult the Public Service Commission's website for more details.
Since individual executives have a surplus status for a period determined by the deputy head, they cannot be laid off before the end of the set date. It is the responsibility of executives to assess the advantages and the risks associated with the refusal of an offer of employment during the surplus period.
Executives who have not found employment in the core public administration before the expiry date of their surplus status will be laid off and will have laid-off person priority entitlement. At that point, they will be entitled only to their severance pay, as well as payment of any accumulated annual leave. They may also be eligible for a lump sum performance award.
According to the Directive on Executive Compensation, the salary of executives appointed to a lower-level position under the Directive on Career Transition for Executives will be maintained at the rate in effect on the date of appointment to the lower-level position until it falls within the scale of the new lower-level position. This applies to executives who are appointed or deployed to a position with a lower maximum salary, whether at management's request or on the executive's initiative.
The executive then has a reinstatement priority entitlement. The entitlement is for an indeterminate appointment ahead of all others, except for persons with statutory priority, to a position that has a level that is not higher than the position the person held immediately before the appointment or deployment to the lower-level position.
The Directive on Career Transition for Executives does not provide for the retraining of executives whose positions have been declared surplus and who opted to seek continued employment in the core public administration. However, the department must make every reasonable effort to place the executive within his or her own organization.
For executives who have opted to leave the core public administration and seek employment elsewhere, the Directive stipulates that the career transition agreement could include an amount of up to 20 percent of their salary for outplacement counselling services. This amount, equivalent to 20 percent of the salary, may include a training benefit of up to $7,000 to upgrade their skills and thus enhance their placement opportunities.
Executives who are seeking continued employment in the core public administration should actively participate in the job search process, including looking at job opportunities on Publiservice, GC Forums Jobs Marketplace, Jobs-emplois.gc.ca as well as the Alternation Forum.
It is important that executives provide timely information and be available for job interviews, and that they give serious and thoughtful consideration to all job opportunities. They should be aware of their entitlements and obligations associated with their priority status, and they should consult their managers and human resources advisors.
Information on priority administration is available on the Priority Administration website.
The cost of severance pay, liquidation of accumulated vacation credits and the pension reduction waiver are funded through a central fund managed by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
The organization that declared the position surplus pays for all other authorized costs of Executive B, such as performance pay and the Career Transition Agreement.
However, the deputy head of Executive A’s organization could negotiate with Executive B’s organization to pay all or part of these costs, keeping in mind that alternation is a way to retain the skills and experience of executives, and reduce the number of executives who may be declared surplus as a result of the Budget 2012 decisions.
If an executive's substantive position has not been staffed indeterminately, the executive must be informed in writing that his/her services are no longer required — in the same manner as if he/she had not been on leave without pay.
An executive who opts to seek continued employment in the core public administration following his/her leave without pay will have his/her leave without pay extended for an additional year and will be entitled to a priority for surplus employees. If, on the surplus priority status expiry date, the executive has not found alternative employment, he/she will be laid off and will have laid-off person priority entitlement.
An executive who opts to leave the core public administration will be entitled to negotiate a career transition agreement in accordance with the terms of the Directive. However, he/she is not entitled to any lump sum payment in lieu of working the notice period as he/she is not receiving a salary at the time he/she is informed that his/her services will no longer be required.
However, an executive on leave without pay whose position was staffed indeterminately should be given priority as leave of absence returnee; the Directive on Career Transition for Executives does not apply to his/her situation.
Information on priority administration is available on the Public Service Commission's website and all questions concerning priority administration should be directed to the Public Service Commission.
In situations of sick leave, deputy heads may decide to notify executives immediately or at the end of the sick leave, depending on the particular circumstances. It is at the discretion of deputy heads to determine whether these executives must choose their option upon receipt of the written notification or at the end of their leave.
These situations should be treated on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the organization's operational requirements and the executive's personal circumstances.
When an executive on leave is replaced on an indeterminate basis, the manager must decide whether the executive returning from leave or the executive hired as a leave replacement will be retained at the end of the leave period. This decision should be made at the same time as the decision to back-fill the position on an indeterminate basis. The organization must clearly inform the executives of their status, including the priority entitlement.
The executive who was not retained benefits from a return from leave of absence or a leave of absence replacement priority entitlement. For the return from leave of absence priority entitlement, it starts on the date the position is backfilled and lasts for the remainder of the leave, plus one year thereafter. The priority entitlement for the leave replacement starts on the first day after the return of the executive who has been granted leave and lasts for one year. During that one year thereafter the executive who was not retained remains on leave without pay. If the executive is not appointed during the entitlement period, he or she ceases to be employed at the end of the priority period.
Therefore, if this position is abolished, the executive who did not have the leave of absence priority would be entitled to the provisions of the Directive on Career Transition for Executives. He or she would have to choose between resigning from the core public administration (CPA) in exchange for a career transition agreement or seeking continued employment in the CPA.
For more details on priority entitlement, please consult the Public Service Commission Guide on Priority Administration.
Executives who leave the core public administration involuntarily are entitled to receive severance pay, but will not receive credits or payment for the same period more than once.
Executives who choose to leave the core public administration as part of a career transition agreement are resigning, but are considered to be laid off for severance pay purposes.
Under the Public Service Superannuation Act, executives may be eligible for a waiver of the reduction of the annual allowance if they meet the following conditions:
In cases where a termination is due to a WFA situation, the Treasury Board has authorized waivers if two general conditions are met:
The Public Service Pension Centre of PWGSC, which is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the pension plan, will put the waiver of the reduction of the annual allowance into effect only for situations related to work force adjustment.
Consult the Frequently Asked Questions – Preparing to Retire from the Federal Public Service for more information on retirement.
If the executive is laid-off (involuntary termination) and the Deputy head certifies that the executive meets all the requirements, then the executive would be eligible for the waiver of the reduction of the annual allowance.
No. Performance pay is not one of the elements described in Appendix C of the Directive on Career Transition for Executives that can be part of a Career Transition Agreement.
However, according to the Directive on the Performance Management Program (PMP) for Executives, executives on surplus status whose employment ends prior to the end of the fiscal year are eligible for performance pay based on the level of achievement of commitments set out in their performance agreement. The amount of performance pay is pro-rated to the number of months of the fiscal year that the executive is in the position.
Previous-year performance pay percentages should not be applied to calculate the performance pay for a surplus employee. Organizations cannot assume that the percentages that were used to calculate performance pay for one fiscal year remain the same the next year. For example, for 2012-13, although 40% of At-Risk pay will continue to be tied to the Corporate Commitment, other parameters of the
EX PMP remain to be confirmed. OCHRO publishes the percentages to be used annually.
NB: The salary of a surplus employee does not contribute to the EX Performance Management Program budget that is calculated on salaries on March 31, although performance payments made to surplus employees do come out of that budget.
No. The intent of special deployments is to provide deputy heads with the flexibility to accommodate temporary operational requirements by quickly deploying executives to duties that have not been classified.
The executive's indeterminate status is protected during the period of time on a special deployment. The Directive on Career Transition for Executives and the Directive on Executive Compensation (Appendix E – article 7.2) stipulate that career transition agreements are not to be negotiated in situations where executives cease their employment while on, or at the conclusion of, special deployment assignments as they are not to be declared surplus.
The executive must be informed in writing that his or her services are no longer required—in the same manner as if he or she were actively working in their substantive position.
Executives on Interchange Canada assignments must advise their deputy heads when they would like to leave.
Executives will resign and will be entitled to negotiate a career transition agreement in accordance with the terms of the Directive on Career Transition for Executives. Departments and executives will negotiate the date of departure. Operational requirements of the home and host organization should be considered when determining the date. A one-month period is required under the Policy on Interchange Canada.
Deputy heads can authorize executives to remain on their assignment until the initially agreed-upon end date of the assignment; and executives must agree in writing to resign from the core public administration as of that date. An addendum to the Interchange Canada agreement should reflect this amendment. Executives waive all priority entitlement and will not be eligible to negotiate a career transition agreement.
Executives can choose to return to their home organization to work the notice period until they find alternative employment or the date of lay-off, whichever comes first.
Executives can choose to continue on their assignment with the host organization until they find alternative employment or until the date of lay-off, whichever comes first. If executives remain on assignment, they must actively be looking for work and be available for referrals. Arrangements must be made for them to have access to Publiservice. The host organization would need to allow participants to diligently search for employment.
In both cases, executives will be entitled to a priority for surplus employees for the period determined by the deputy head. If, on the surplus priority period expiry date, executives have not found alternative employment, they will be laid off and will have a lay-off priority entitlement without pay. They will not be eligible to negotiate a career transition agreement.
Executives would be required to repay a portion of the lump sum amount in lieu of working the notice period that was negotiated in the context of the career transition agreement if they work for the core public administration during the period covered by the payment in lieu of working the notice period. The amount to be repaid would be equivalent to the number of weeks worked during the period covered by the lump sum payment.
Example: An EX-03's position is declared surplus on May 15. The executive opts to resign immediately and accepts a six-month lump sum in lieu of working the notice period. Should the executive wish to return to work in the core public administration before November 15, he/she would be required to repay all or a portion of the lump sum he/she received based on the date of the executive's return to work. However, after November 15, the executive would be free to return to work and no repayment of the lump sum would be necessary.
The career transition agreement should contain a statement informing the executive of this requirement.
In the case of retired executives, their monthly pension would stop if they became re-employed on an indeterminate basis in the Public Service.
The Contracting Policy places limits on the amount which can be paid for such contracts. The fee limit that may be paid under any contract with such an individual is $5,000 during the lump sum payment period. This restriction applies in both competitive and non-competitive contracts.
It is sometimes challenging to monitor this because details surrounding negotiated career transition agreements are confidential.
That being said, organizations should consider including a statement in their letter of offer to former executives, which requires them to certify that the period of their employment does not include a period for which they received a lump sum payment in lieu of working a notice period under the Directive on Career Transition for Executives. Organizations should also confirm this during the interview process.