Frequently Asked Questions - Layoff Resources

Layoff Resources

Information for Employees: Employment Rights

If I apply for jobs on campus, can other departments see my personnel file?

Yes. Campus departments may review your personnel file before making a selection. It's a good idea to request a review of your personnel file so you'll know what is in it, so you can be better prepared for job interviews. You want to be able to give your perspective on anything that is in your personnel file, since the department may not review your personnel file until after the interview.

Can I accept a temporary or limited position on campus while I'm eligible for preferential rehire?

You may be able to work in temporary assignments during this period, depending on your skills, the type of assignments available, and other eligibility criteria, based on current policies and contractual agreements.

How does the preferential rehire process work if several laid-off employees apply for the same position?

If several employees apply for the same position under preferential rehire rights, the hiring department will review the resumes in the order in which they were received.

Can I work on my resume and go to interviews during work time?

PPSM and many of the labor agreements (Teamsters 2010, UPTE Research, UPTE Technical, AFSCME) provide for reasonable release time with pay for job interviews on campus (and comparable time for interviews on other campuses). Paid release time is provided for you to meet with a campus Employment Analyst to work on your job search efforts (including resume preparation). Talk to your supervisor about the possibility of working on your resume or doing other job search activities that are not disruptive during work time.

How does the recall process work?

Recall rights are rights back to the same department and same classification title held at time of layoff.  The responsibilities and requirements could vary but if the department has a need for the classification title, it will refer to their recall list.

Is there severance pay?

You should refer to the appropriate contract or Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM) to determine your rights to severance pay in a layoff. (See Policies and Contracts for links.)

Is there a trial period for jobs I accept through recall or preferential rehire? Is this the same as the standard probationary period?

Trial employment applies to preferential rehire, but not to recall. The difference between trial employment and probation is that if you are released during trial employment, you are placed back on layoff status without any loss of time towards your preferential rehire eligibility period.

If I refuse a job offer, how will that affect my eligibility for recall and preferential rehire rights?

Refusing a job offer while you're on preferential rehire or recall status may cause you to lose your preferential rehire and recall rights. The number of refusals allowed varies by policy and union contract, so you should check the contract or policy that governs your employment for details. The recruiter in Employment Services will also give you a layoff checklist that will include this information.

How many jobs can I apply for under preferential rehire?

You can apply for as many jobs as you wish, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements for preferential rehire under the contract or policies that govern your employment and as long as you meet the qualifications of the job.

If I accept a job off campus, do I still have preferential rehire rights?

If you accept a job off campus, you can still exercise your preferential rehire and recall rights during your eligibility period. Be sure to verify your eligibility period with your recruiter in Employment Services or your Department Personnel Manager.

What types of jobs does preferential rehire cover? Do they need to be at the same level, hours, salary, etc.?

Preferential rehire covers any open, vacant position for which you are qualified and which is at the same salary or lower salary range midpoint as your former position. If you are covered by a bargaining unit, preferential rehire rights only apply to positions within that bargaining unit.

What are my rights in a layoff?

All University employees have certain rights in relation to layoff, unless they are Managers and Senior Professionals in Salary Grades VIII and IX or in the Executive Management Program. Your rights may vary depending upon the union contract or personnel policy that governs your position. These rights may include preference for reemployment and recall to the job from which you are laid off. You may be eligible for severance pay. To learn what you are eligible for, read the union contract or Personnel Policies for Staff Members that covers your position, in the section(s) relating to layoff or reductions in time.

If you believe your layoff violates the union contract or personnel policy covering your position, you may file a grievance (under union contracts) or a complaint (under Personnel Policies for Staff Members). The grievance and complaint procedures are included in the union contracts and in Personnel Policies for Staff Members.

Information for Employees: Benefits

Are support groups or individual counseling available through my medical plan?

UC's health plans do have mental health coverage. For more information on how to access this coverage, contact your health plan directly or go to CARE Services, who can assist you with a referral.

How will my retirement benefits be calculated if I accept a position at a lower compensation level?

The UCRP retirement calculation is based on your age and total service credit at time of retirement and your highest average plan compensation (HAPC), the full-time salary rate over any consecutive 36-month period. Therefore, accepting an appointment at a lower compensation level will not reduce your HAPC.

If I am eligible to retire, what steps should I take to maintain eligibility for health and dental insurance as a retiree?

If you meet eligibility requirements, (a University of California Plan member who is age 50 or more with 5 years or more of retirement service credit or a member of a reciprocal retirement plan) the University may continue to contribute toward the cost of your University-sponsored medical and dental coverage when you retire from the University. To be eligible, you must begin receiving monthly retirement income within 120 days of your separation from employment (your coverage in the medical and dental plan must be uninterrupted during this period). Your eligibility for this benefit also depends on the date you were hired and your years of service credit in UCRP or other retirement plan to which the University contributes. For more information, see the Retirement Handbook (PDF), also available from your Department Benefits Counselor.

What happens to my health and insurance benefits if I am laid off?

Some benefits can be continued through the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA). You and/or your eligible family members may be eligible to continue your UC-sponsored medical, dental, vision, and Health Care Flexible Spending Account (Health FSA) through COBRA continuation. Note: All payments under COBRA, including those for the Health FSA, are with after-tax dollars; you must apply within 60 days of receiving a COBRA notice or your layoff date, whichever is later.

Some coverage can be maintained for four months by paying premiums, and then converted: You may continue your Supplemental Life, Dependent Life, Accidental Death, and Dismemberment for up to four months after the month your layoff begins. To make arrangements, contact Angela Dizon ( or 642-0684) in the Central Payroll Office.

Some coverage can be converted: You may convert your Basic Life, Supplemental Life, and/or Dependent Life (each plan converts from group life to an individual policy) within 31 days of your coverage end date without proof of insurability. For more information, contact the Prudential Life Insurance Conversion Office at 1-877-889-2070, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, EST.

Some coverage stops: Group disability insurance, Business Travel Accident, and Workers' Compensation end on your last day actively at work.

Can I get Unemployment Insurance?

Generally, you are eligible for unemployment insurance if you are laid off. Contact your local Employee Development Department (EDD) or look on the EDD website to file a claim and locate Unemployment Insurance benefits information.

  1. Go to Employment Development Department (EDD).
  2. Click on Claims.
  3. Find the Unemployment Insurance section and follow the steps listed.

Please note that the address you use on your EDD claim must match the address on your paycheck. If you need to update your address, visit UCPath Online.

Where can I get information about how my benefits are affected by a layoff?

The What To Do If You're Being Laid Off and Benefits Checklist Supplement, provide full information about how benefits are affected when an employee is laid off.

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.