Los Alamos lab submits plan to offer buyouts

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory expects to reduce its workforce by 400 to 800 employees through a voluntary separation program, the lab announced Tuesday.

Many of the details of the plan will not be released as the lab is currently waiting for approval from the National Nuclear Security Administration. The research institution did announce that certain specialized jobs will not be eligible for separation and student programs will not be cut.

After a significantly reduced fiscal 2012 budget, the move was an effort to prevent the possibility of involuntary layoffs, laboratory Director Charlie McMillan said.

"With a smaller workforce possessing the essential skills, we will be better positioned to deliver on current and future national security commitments. Allowing employees to apply for voluntary separation is a prudent step," he said in a statement.

Los Alamos offered a voluntary separation program in 2008, but the lab had a low attrition rate for the past three years. With future budgets expected to drop or remain flat, a team of senior managers also will look for additional ways to reduce costs beyond the voluntary separation program.

“The plan we’re submitting will position the lab to continue executing our missions today and in the future,” McMillan said. "I am fully aware of the economic footprint this lab has in northern New Mexico, and we’re taking every possible step to minimize the impacts.

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