Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus convallis sem tellus, vitae egestas felis vestibule ut.

Error message details.

Reuse Permissions

Request permission to republish or redistribute SHRM content and materials.

Reduction in Force Policy: Voluntary Separation Program


The purpose of the voluntary separation program is to allow employees to voluntarily separate employment when business needs demand a reduction in force. This program allows [Company Name] to minimize the impact of downsizing by allowing employees to volunteer to be separated in lieu of another employee who is slated to be involuntarily separated by RIF procedures. This policy sets forth the framework under which employees can volunteer to be separated during a RIF.


All employees (including exempt, nonexempt, union and nonunion employees) are given consideration for participation in this program if they are in an area where the workload is being reduced. Generally, employees occupying critical or hard-to-fill positions, or with critical knowledge or skills, will not be allowed to participate except with the approval of the project manager. Employee participation in the voluntary RIF separation program is not an entitlement and is subject to the discretion of [Company Name].


At its sole discretion, [Company Name] may initiate the voluntary RIF separation program. This program may become necessary because of a lack of work or funds, or whenever it is advisable in the interest of economy to reduce the number of employees. The first step in this program is to seek the necessary staff reductions through voluntary methods.

To be eligible for the voluntary RIF separation program, an employee must have been offered an opportunity to participate during a formal RIF initiated by [Company Name] and have not submitted notice of resignation prior to the voluntary separation offer.

Approval process
The project manager may approve a voluntary RIF separation under the conditions described below:

  • A voluntary separation can occur only during a formal RIF in which official RIF notices are issued.
  • The voluntary separation eliminates the need to serve a displacement notice to another current employee.
  • The voluntary separation results in a vacancy to be filled by an employee, from within the facility, who has already received a displacement notice. Placements that will result in a promotion must be approved by the project manager. The human resource department should determine the best match for placement.

If there are more volunteers than needed and all are equally good matches, [Company Name] will process voluntary RIF applicants in order of seniority.

Volunteering for RIF separation under this policy is strictly a voluntary action on the part of any employee to whom this option is offered.

Severance Package

Employees who voluntarily resign as part of a formal voluntary RIF separation will be offered severance pay. The amount of severance payment is based on length of service and salary at separation:

Less than 1 year2.5 weeks base salary
1 but less than 5 years5 weeks base salary
5 but less than 10 years12 weeks base salary
10 but less than 20 years20 weeks base salary
20 or more years26 weeks base salary

Separation volunteers will be issued RIF separation notices that will advise them of their entitlements under RIF.
Volunteers must sign a statement that they realize the action is irrevocable once they have been issued a RIF separation notice. However, [Company Name] may cancel the action if necessary.

Status of separation volunteers
Separation volunteers will receive all the same benefits and entitlements as the employees who are subject to involuntary RIF separations.



​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.