Skip to main content

The University’s layoff policy assures equitable treatment of SHRA employees when reduction in force becomes necessary. A layoff might become necessary because of a reduction in work or funds, abolishment of a position, or other material change in duties or organization. Although this policy does not apply to EHRA and student appointments, departments should consider all staffing resources when determining positions to retain.

The audience for this policy is directors and department heads considering or implementing a layoff within their department.

This policy applies only to SHRA permanent employees (full-time and part-time) who have completed their probationary period. Other SHRA employees may be separated without following the layoff procedures of this policy, including

  • probationary employees
  • time-limited permanent employees
  • temporary employees

A layoff decision should be reached only after other applicable measures have been explored, including but not limited to such actions as

  • campus-wide efforts to place the employee in a similar position
  • delaying the filling of or eliminating vacant positions
  • limiting purchasing and travel
  • retraining employees in needed skill sets
  • job sharing and work schedule alternatives

A layoff decision requires a thorough evaluation of the need for specific positions and the relative efficiency of affected employees so that the University can provide the highest level of service possible with a smaller work force. The decision to lay off a particular employee or group of employees rests with the management overseeing the affected work unit(s). The director or department head determines which employee(s) shall be laid off by applying the following factors in order:

  1. University needs. Consider the continuing work to be performed by the work unit(s) and the number of positions in each branch, role and competency level necessary to perform the continuing work. After identifying the position(s) to eliminate, the director or department head must consider all employees in positions with the same or related classification. “Same or related classification” means positions in the identified branch, role and competency level. In order to identify the affected employees, apply the remaining guidelines.
  2. Type of appointment. SHRA time-limited, temporary or probationary employees who perform work in the same or related SHRA job classification within the affected work unit must be terminated before any employee with a permanent appointment.
  3. Relative skills, knowledge and productivity of employees. Employees to be retained must demonstrate the skills and knowledge required for the continuing work of the work unit or be able to attain those skills and knowledge within a reasonable period of time in accordance with the operational needs of the work unit. Selection must be consistent with employees’ most recent annual performance reviews and competency assessments as well as other relevant documentation.
  4. Length of total State service of employees. Length of service shall be considered but may receive less weight in the determination. Eligible veterans must be accorded one year of State service for each year (or fraction thereof) of military service, up to a maximum of five years of credit.
  5. Work force diversity. In accordance with federal guidelines affecting equal opportunity employment, any application of the layoff policy must be reviewed by the affected department(s) and the Office of Human Resources (OHR) to determine its impact on the work force diversity within the work unit(s).

Department management is accountable for documenting the basis for its decision in a manner that clearly demonstrates reasonable and consistent application of these factors. OHR Talent Acquisition Partners will provide consultation to department management regarding the effective application and interpretation of Office of State Human Resources Reduction in Force Suggested Guidelines.


The director or department head must complete a SHRA Layoff Request Form, ensuring all information is complete and accurate. The completed, signed form should be submitted via the department’s HR Representative to the OHR Talent Acquisition Partner assigned to the department. The director or department head must also submit a copy of the request form to the appropriate Dean/Vice Chancellor or designee. The request form must indicate

  • the reason(s) for the layoff
  • the anticipated date of separation (management should consider the total budgetary cost of separating an employee through layoff when determining an appropriate separation date)
  • name(s) of the employee(s) to be laid off and justification for the decision
  • a listing of all vacant positions in the department which are in the same branch, role and competency level with a status of recruitment activity for those positions
  • what efforts the department made to avoid the layoff of the selected employee(s)
  • a brief explanation why action other than layoff is not possible
  • a brief description of efforts to place employee
  • a management contact

OHR must provide the department with written approval of the layoff request before any layoff action can be taken. SHRA permanent employees must receive written notice of layoff at least 30 calendar days prior to their effective separation date. Therefore, department management is expected to submit the SHRA Layoff Request Form to the department’s assigned Talent Acquisition Partner at least six weeks prior to the anticipated separation date in order to provide adequate time for both review and the required notification to the employee(s).

After OHR has approved the SHRA Layoff Request Form and at least 30 calendar days before the effective date of the layoff, the director or department head must provide the following information, in writing, to the employee(s) being laid off:

  • the reason for the layoff
  • the effective date of the layoff
  • notification that OHR will contact them to arrange for a layoff information session, including details on
    • the University’s policy on priority re-employment
    • completion of necessary forms
    • the availability of aid in seeking other employment
    • eligibility to apply for unemployment insurance benefits
    • other benefits information for separating employees
    • the estimated amount of severance pay being requested, if any
    • the right of SHRA permanent employees to appeal the layoff through the SHRA Grievance Policy

Employees selected for layoff are entitled to

  • one year of employer contributions to the employee’s (self-only) health insurance, if eligibility requirements are met
  • payout of vacation and bonus leave and other applicable paid time off, upon the date of separation

Affected employees may also be eligible for layoff benefits including

  • up to four months of severance pay based on total state service
  • up to four months of severance pay based on age
  • priority re-employment consideration for State positions for 12 months
  • For more information on severance pay, priority re-employment and other layoff benefits, see the Employee Resource Guide for SHRA Layoffs (revised Feb. 28, 2023).

Additionally, Career Transition Counseling Services are offered to all permanent SHRA and EHRA non-faculty employees whose employment is ended due to budget reduction/loss of funds excluding those separated due to the exercise of a funding contingency.

Once any laid off employee has separated or been reassigned, department management must complete the layoff process by abolishing the approved position.
Refer to the SHRA Grievance Policy for information regarding applicable appeals rights for layoff actions.

Reason For Policy

This policy provides University-specific guidelines in adherence to the Office of State Human Resources Reduction in Force Policy, assuring employees that potential reductions are considered on a fair and systematic basis.

Roles & Responsibilities

Department’s HR Representative
On behalf of the department head or director, submits SHRA Layoff Request Form to OHR at least six weeks prior to the anticipated separation date; submits a copy of the request form to the appropriate Dean/Vice chancellor or designee; notifies affected employees of layoff at least 30 calendar days prior to effective date; abolishes laid off position

Office of Human Resources, Employment & Staffing section
Provides requesting department written approval of layoff request

  • EHRA employees: employees not subject to the State Human Resources Act
  • priority re-employment: status entitling laid off employees to priority consideration for State positions when being considered alongside candidates with substantially equal qualifications
  • severance pay: an allowance based on length of service payable to a laid off employee
  • SHRA employees: employees subject to the State Human Resources Act
  • work unit: a formally established and recognized unit, section, division or department of the University in which employees perform a closely related set of functions or duties. Departmental management may define individual research projects headed by a principal investigator (PI) as a separate work unit for the purposes of the layoff policy. Any such assertion is subject to appropriate justification that demonstrates the unique nature of the research project and the skills of its assigned staff members as contrasted with other research projects supervised by either the same or different PI(s) within the same overall department or center.