557 take LANL buyout

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Lab: Officials will assess which actions are needed next

By The Staff

Officials were hoping between 400 and 800 employees would take the voluntary separation agreement.
On Monday, Los Alamos National Laboratory announced that 557 employees will leave the lab as part of a voluntary separation program. The employees come from nearly all lab functions, excluding certain essential areas.
The last day of work for those employees will be April 5.
“I would like to thank each and every employee who volunteered for the program,” said LANL Director Charlie McMillan. “Some of them devoted their entire careers to serving the nation during a truly historic time for the country and the lab. They set the example that we will continue to follow.”
The program is aimed at reducing the possibility of involuntary layoffs and better positioning the lab to execute its missions with flat or lower federal funding.
Employees who volunteered to leave will receive severance packages of up to 39 weeks of pay based on years of service.  They will also have access to the lab’s health insurance plan for a limited time.
“The loss of hundreds employees will be painful, but the program did accomplish what it set out to do. This VSP and other actions that started late last year, are necessary to preserve our capabilities during uncertain economic times,” McMillan said.
Lab leaders will now assess what additional actions are needed.  Hiring and major purchases will still go through a council of senior lab managers.  
 But as the lab announced previously, some actions may be necessary in the contractor and term employee ranks between now and the end of the fiscal year.
 A breakdown of employees who volunteered to leave looks like this:
• 258 from professional fields, such as finance, information technology and records management
• 152 from research and development fields
• 74 managers
• 59 technicians and  
• 14 support employees
The distribution of volunteers largely mirrored the overall lab population, with
• 36 percent of applicants coming from the science, technology, engineering areas,
• 25 percent from operations and business services
• 16 percent from the weapons programs
• 15 percent from global security and
• 4 percent each from capital projects management and departments reporting directly to the Office of the Director.