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How to Handle Positions after a Termination Event

by Danielle Larocca, Senior Vice President of Human Capital Management, EPI-USE Labs

October 27, 2011

Danielle Larocca, Spinifex IT  

This blog is in response to the question shown below.

Dear HR Expert,

At my company we are running SAP HR Organizational Management (OM) 4.6C. We think it is difficult to handle the control of all positions. My concern is that we have a lot of open positions that are not really open. Let me give an example. The production department hires 30 employees as temporary staff for a period of three months. We create 30 positions. After the three months, we terminate the 30 people and do not know if they are to be rehired later. This means that we first run the termination action for each employee and afterwards have to go to OM and delimit the 30 positions.

Otherwise, they show up as open positions. Here’s another example: An employee decides to leave the company and it has not been determined if his position is to be replaced. We run the termination action and have to go into OM and delimit the position. Is there a better way of doing this, or shall I just leave these positions as open? Thank you,

Martin Ringive, Application Consultant

Thanks for the question. It’s a common one for SAP HR customers who have integration turned on between Personnel Administration (PA) and Organizational Management (OM). In a nutshell, positions in SAP are objects within the Organizational Management component. OM has several different types of objects: organizational units are object type O, jobs are object type C, and positions are object type S. These objects exist in  Organizational Management regardless of whether or not they are used on the PA side. That is the source of a common misunderstanding – thinking that when you terminate someone the position is also delimited.


Let’s look at an actual scenario. Company X has a new hire named John Smith. The first step is to create a position or to find an existing one in the organizational management component in SAP. For this example, you create the position (object number 5252000, object description Shipping Clerk). Next, you initiate a hiring event on the PA side and create a personnel number for John Smith (PERNR = 12345). During that hiring event, you create a relationship between the two existing objects, so that personnel number 12345 is related to position number 5252000 (in other words, John Smith is a shipping clerk). During a hiring event, when a relationship is created between a person (P) and a position (S), the person inherits all the other relationships tied to that position, which in my example includes the cost center name, the cost center number, and the job code, all of which appear on the employee’s infotype 0001.

Now back to your question. When you terminate an employee in R/3, the only thing the system does is delimit (put an end date on) the A 008 (holder) relationship between the person (P) and the position (S). That is why the position object still exists after the employee has been terminated. A popular practice is to use vacancy processing in OM (infotype 1007) so that during the termination event a dialog box appears asking you if you wish to create a vacancy for the position.

If you select YES, the position is deemed “vacant” and appears on the standard SAP-delivered vacancy report.  If you select NO, then the position does not have a vacancy attached to it. This distinguishes a v acant position that will be filled from one that will not.

You inquired about leaving positions out there as open forever. You can do that, but if you are like me and want a clean system, you can routinely clean them up. A popular solution is to create an ABAP program that locates and identifies any position that does not have a holder attached to it (A 008 relationship between an S and a P objects) and that also does not have the vacancy flag set as vacant on infotype 1007 and delimits it.

Note! If your company does not distinguish between vacant and unoccupied positions – that is, you consider all unoccupied positions to be vacant – you can set an indicator rather than maintain the vacancy infotype. It is not mandatory that you utilize vacancy processing in SAP. You should, however, use vacancy processing if you install the following HR components: Personnel Cost Planning, Performance Management, Succession Planning, or E-Recruitment.  For these sub modules, reuse of positions when they become vacant makes your processing easier. In the case of Succession Planning, if you create successor relationships from a person to a position and the position becomes vacant, you can easily identify who the successor to that position is and fill it accordingly.


Danielle Larocca recommends the Easy Reporter tool for all SAP HCM reporting.


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