Bumping Rights | Meaning and Definition

What are bumping rights?

Bumping rights are a set of privileges or preferential treatment given to more senior-level employees whose positions may be at risk of being cut during layoffs. This can include prioritizing absorption into another position within the company, getting the first choice of open positions, or being exempt from future layoff rounds. Bumping off often comes with many years of service or tenure with an organization. 

Is bumping illegal?

Bumping is not illegal. Bumping rights, or the right of an incumbent employee to retain their position if their job is eliminated or reduced, are a common feature of many HR laws and regimes. However, it’s important to note that different countries and jurisdictions will have different laws on bumping rights. 

In general, though, bumping rights are seen as a protection for workers, ensuring that cheaper alternatives can’t easily replace them. This helps create stability in the workforce and prevents employers from exploiting employees by routinely eliminating jobs and hiring new workers at lower rates. 

Difference between bumping up and bumping down

The difference between bumping up and bumping off is that it usually means you’re being transferred to another position or higher level within the company when you’re bumped up. On the other hand, bumping down typically refers to a reduction in hours or salary. Sometimes, people may also use this term to describe being fired. 

There is no legal obligation to bump. There are no special rights established just to be bumped. Employees generally adhere to their redundancy policies when it comes to bumping.