@Body: "Right fit" may be deciding factor in scramble for public sector jobs
By Kathryn May, Postmedia News July 15, 2012 7:05 PM
OTTAWA — The thousands of public servants who received notices that their work may be affected by spending cuts will be the first to battle for jobs with a new definition of merit when departments decide who goes and who stays.
The merit principle that guided how public servants were hired, fired and promoted for 85 years was redefined in the sweeping reforms of the Public Service Modernization Act in 2005, but this is the first time it has been tested with major layoffs.
Managers are also navigating new waters with layoffs. Because government departments have been on hiring sprees for many of the years since the end of the Liberals' massive downsizing in the 1990s, managers have had little experience handing out pink slips.
"It will be a test of the new legislation for layoffs," says Josee Dubois, executive director of the Public Service Staffing Tribunal. "There have been layoffs once in a while because of reorganizations, but they affected one or two people who could usually find jobs. But this is more like the massive layoffs in the 1990s."
Those who received their notices in the two rounds after the March budget are the first to compete for jobs in a process known as SERLO, short for Selection of Employees for Retention or Layoff. The timing of the selections varies from department to department.
Health Canada, for example, wanted its selections completed by the end of June. Statistics Canada hoped to make its picks by last week.
The staffing tribunal, responsible for hearing layoff complaints, is braced for an onslaught as departments make decisions on which employees among the 24,000 who have received "affected notices' will lose their jobs. Employees facing layoff have 15 days to file a complaint after receiving a surplus notice. The tribunal has so far received nearly 30 complaints.
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