Layoff & Separations

Layoff Planning Flow Chart

This flow chart provides general guidelines for a department faced with budget reductions and programmatic changes. Refer to union contracts and personnel policies for specific notice requirements and key time frames.

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Layoff: Introduction (for departments)

Many departments are facing difficult budget decisions that may result in reorganizations or staff reductions.

Nevertheless, sometimes layoffs are inevitable. Having to reduce staff can be one of the most difficult challenges that managers face. To respond to this challenge, Central Human Resources (Central HR) offers services and resources to support both management and staff during these turbulent times.

If you are currently facing budget cuts and are considering staff reductions as an option, a team of Central HR specialists is available to assist you. Contact your...

Layoff Resources

Avoiding, Implementing, and Surviving Staff Layoffs: Information for Employees and Departments

The University of California, Berkeley is committed to creating a healthy and supportive environment for each employee and to administering all policies fairly and equitably. It is the policy of the University to minimize layoffs required by budget reductions and to consider staffing reductions only after other creative solutions have been considered.

The information on this website was developed by Central Human Resources with...

Layoff: Communicating with the Employee

Telling employees that they are going to be laid off is never an easy task. You may experience anxiety and guilt about having to take the action. Recognize that these feelings are normal. Making sure that you treat the employee humanely and compassionately will help to make this difficult situation more tolerable for both of you. Be sure to tell the employee to consult the applicable policy or contract.

Speak to the employee in a private place. Recognize the employee's contribution to the unit. Briefly explain the...

Layoff: Managing the Stress

When a person's job ends involuntarily because of budget cuts, it's normal to feel a sense of loss and the need to take some time to begin to heal. At least temporarily, you may have lost many things, including your daily work, your work associations, a structure for your days, financial security, and status. Even though your job loss is due to budget cuts and not your fault, it is common to feel some loss of self-esteem, or that somehow you have failed, and it can be hard to tell your friends and family.


Layoff: First Things First

Even if you don't have time to read all the material you've received, or if you don't feel like it immediately, make sure to take care of these five things. Details are included in the information you have received from your department.

Check the contract or personnel policy that covers your appointment to learn about your rights and responsibilities. Be sure to attend the appointment scheduled for you with a Recruiter in Employment Services. Know about your...

Communicating with Staff After Layoffs

It is your responsibility to respond to the feelings of the remaining staff and to communicate a positive image for the future. Here are some important topics to discuss; a series of meetings is a good way to ensure an ongoing safe place for communications.

Acknowledge that it is normal to feel anxious during these uncertain times. Announce the personnel changes that have occurred. If appropriate, explain the department reorganization and redefine roles. Discuss any impact on workload/work flow. Ask for suggestions for improving department effectiveness. Assure staff members that no...


When an employee separates service from the University at age 50 or later, refer the employee to the Campus Benefits staff for information on options for retirement and savings plans. An employee under age 50 may have the option of becoming an inactive member of the retirement and savings plans. An employee 50 or over may have the option of applying for retirement benefits.

For more information, refer to Chapter 19: Benefits and...

Dismissal / Terminations

Dismissal is the ultimate disciplinary action, normally used when other methods employed to correct performance or behavioral problems have not been successful. Dismissal is usually preceded by coaching, performance appraisal, and progressive disciplinary action. (See Chapter 22: Taking Disciplinary Action) Under circumstances of extreme misconduct, dismissal without prior warning may be warranted.

Before dismissing an employee, review the...