Department Guidance for Implementing a Layoff

A layoff is the elimination of a position due to lack of funding or a lack of work, and may occur as a result of budget cuts, elimination of programs, or a reorganization.

There are several steps to complete when implementing a layoff.  These steps are developed in accordance with the appropriate policy or collective bargaining agreement. This checklist is provided as a quick reference tool to assist supervisors with the layoff process. To the extent this checklist varies from the appropriate layoff policy or collective bargaining agreement terms and conditions, the policy or collective bargaining agreement shall control. Nothing in this checklist shall act to add any additional steps, requirements, or University obligations to the layoff process beyond those described in the appropriate layoff policy or collective bargaining agreement.

  • Consider all cost-saving measures before contemplating layoffs.
  • Consult with your Employee Relations Consultant as soon as your department has decided to reduce staff.
  • Determine the layoff unit of the position/employee being proposed for layoff.
  • Determine which positions/classifications will be impacted by layoffs.
  • Consider holding general information sessions to inform employees that layoffs may be necessary. Here is an opportunity to ask employees to think about cost-cutting measures and ideas.
  • Determine which collective bargaining agreement/personnel policy governs the affected classifications.
  • Verify whether layoffs will be based on seniority or special skills (or performance for PPSM-covered employees).
  • Ensure you've allowed sufficient time for notice to the employee, and that you've reviewed the applicable policy or collective bargaining agreement.
  • Consider voluntary layoffs. Some collective bargaining agreements allow for voluntary layoffs.
  • Check with your DBA to ensure that copies of required benefits forms and publications are available.
  • Develop a communication plan on how and when to communicate to management and staff about impending layoffs.
  • Encourage an "open door policy" for employees to share their concerns and feelings about the reduction of staff within the department.
  • Once you have assembled this data:
    • Complete the layoff proposal on the HR website and submit to Employee and Labor Relations for approval.
    • Prepare the auto-generated layoff letter for each employee who will be laid off (once approved by E&LR).
      • Copy the letter onto your department’s letterhead.
      • Issue the letter with the current date and a signature.
      • Distribute the cc’s of the letter to the appropriate Employee Relations Consultant and the others as soon as possible.
        • Important:  If the layoff date changes, or if the layoff is withdrawn, please advise your Employee Relations Consultant as soon as possible.
  • Acquaint yourself with best practices for Communicating a Layoff, prepared by the Academic & Staff Assistance Program. 
  • Schedule individual meetings with each employee to be laid off.
  • Inform the employee about campus resources.
  • Meet with the rest of the staff after the layoff action to address issues such as workload and redefinition of roles, while protecting the confidentiality of the laid-off employees.