Frequently Asked Questions - Information for Departments

Information for Departments

What kind of an agreement should there be between the employee returning severance and the department?

The department and employee work out an arrangement for the payback. Payment can either be made in a lump sum or through payroll deduction. Lump sum payments should be made out to UC Regents. If payroll deduction is chosen, a reasonable payback schedule should be determined. For example, it may be reasonable to ask the employee to have one week of severance deducted from his paycheck for each upcoming month. This agreement should be in writing. Individuals should confer with their personal tax consultants regarding tax implications.

If someone is rehired after receiving severance pay from the University, what are the guidelines for the severance payback?

The department that is rehiring an employee needs to ask whether the employee has received severance from the University. If the employee has, and is still receiving severance, the department that originated the layoff calculates the amount to be refunded to the University. To determine repayment policy, consult the appropriate contract or policy.

In PPSM, for example, if an employee received 12 weeks of severance pay and returned to a career position two weeks after being laid off, at the same or higher salary and at the same percentage of time as the position held at the time of layoff, he would owe the University back pay for 10 weeks. The amount would be calculated based on gross earnings and would be submitted to payroll for processing.

What is the source of funding for severance payments when a layoff occurs and the employee elects severance pay?

Funding for severance payments when a layoff occurs will be made available through department funds. Departments will want to consider the potential obligation to make severance payments as a part of the budget planning process.

Can I give the employee severance pay?

Most contracts and policies specify whether or not severance pay is appropriate. For example the UC - Teamsters 2010 agreement specifies that severance pay can be given in lieu of preferential rehire and recall rights. First, read the appropriate contract or policy. Then if you have questions, contact your Employee Relations Specialist to determine whether severance pay can be offered in your layoff situation.

What are "special skills"?

"Special skills" are considered in out-of-seniority layoff actions. There may be situations where a position requires special licensing that the senior person cannot acquire. Or the position may require a credential that cannot be obtained in a reasonable amount of time (3-6 months). The same would hold true if special skills were needed that the senior person could not acquire within a reasonable period of time (3-6 months). Rationales for out-of-seniority layoffs should state that specific skills are required and why the senior person cannot acquire them in a reasonable amount of time.

When can I tell the employee that s/he is being laid off?

Your first contact when contemplating a layoff action should be with your Employee Relations Consultant. He/she will help you develop a time line for layoff notice to the employee and the union. In general, we want the employee to be informed as soon as the layoff date has been set.

It's important that you communicate with employees early and often. When you believe layoffs may be possible, keep the staff informed. When you are ready to provide information to the union about specific individuals, tell the employee(s) who are the most likely to be laid off that their position/work is targeted, but that it is in the proposal state. Employees should find out from you, not from the union, that they may be laid off. More detailed information about communications related to layoff may be found in the Communication Guidelines for Departments.

What is an out-of seniority layoff?

Generally, a layoff is by seniority, which means that the least senior person (amount of service with the University) in the classification is laid off. In some situations certain positions require very "special skills," which may require the retention of the employees in these positions. If this occurs, a more senior person may be laid off first. This is an out-of-seniority layoff. Please see Seniority Provisions Calculations for detailed information.

What information is required from a department when union notice is required?

Because contracts have different provisions, it is best to talk to your Employee Relations Specialist about exact requirements for your situation. However, usually the following is required: proposed layoff date, the reason for the layoff, budget information and other information used by management in reaching the decision, names, classification, seniority points for employees in the same classification, rationale for out-of-seniority layoffs, and "before" and "after" organization charts.

Who provides notice to the unions?

The Labor Relations unit provides the notice to the unions after you provide the information to your Employee Relations Specialist, who will coordinate with Labor Relations. The process for the final notice may take up to a week.

What is the difference between a temporary layoff and a furlough?

A furlough is that portion of a partial year career appointment during which an employee does not work, planned in advance as part of the schedule. For example, a unit may not need certain staff during the summer months and every year these employees are scheduled to be off for the months of July and August. Furloughs may not exceed a total of three months in a calendar year.

A temporary layoff, however, is usually due to unexpected loss of funding. Staff is laid off for a short period of time (not more than four months) and is then returned to work. Check the applicable contract or PPSM policy for details.

Is there a different notice procedure for laying off a group of employees (five or more) at the same time compared to laying off one or two employees at a time?

The notice procedure for laying off a group of employees at the same time, when they are covered under the same contract, may differ depending on the provisions of the contract. For example the UC Teamsters 2010 agreement specifies that for five or more full time equivalent (FTE) Teamsters 2010 employees being laid off at the same time, the University must notice the union at least 45 days before the layoff date. The union may use this time to meet with the department to discuss the impact of the layoff. Any meeting would be coordinated through the Labor Relations Unit.

Is reduction in time considered a layoff?

Yes. If a career employee's time is reduced, it is considered a layoff, and the employee is entitled to layoff rights. If an employee has a 100% appointment and it is reduced by 20% to an 80% appointment, the employee has layoff rights to a 100% position. This is true no matter what percentage of time this job is reduced to.

A reduction of time is a layoff only if the University tells the employee he must reduce his time. If the employee requests a reduction, it is not a layoff.