print logo
Main Content Anchor



The California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) provides consultation and oversight to State agencies required to reduce their work forces. Lack of work or funds or the interest of economy can prompt layoffs.


The law provides the State Personnel Board the authority to review CalHR's decisions about the layoff process. California statutes and rules govern the layoff process.


In addition, some Memoranda of Understanding negotiated between CalHR on behalf of the Governor and the exclusive representatives of bargaining units contain layoff-related provisions that supersede the statutes and rules. The agency should always research applicable MOUs before conducting a layoff.


CalHR publishes a Layoff Manual to guide State agencies in conducting layoffs.



Basic Process

State agencies determine the need for layoffs and submit implementation plans to CalHR for approval. Since May 2009, CalHR has required departments in layoff to use an online Layoff Tool to submit layoff plans.


These plans include

  • reason or justification for layoff,

  • description of pre-layoff mitigation efforts,

  • classes of layoff,

  • number of positions to be reduced,

  • geographic areas in which positions will be reduced,

  • number of employees that must be laid off by class and area, and

  • area of layoff (statewide or limited to one or more specific geographic areas).


A layoff also requires

  • seniority scores for employees in the classes of layoff and for employees in any classes to which employees may demote in-lieu-of being laid off, and

  • that the employees in jeopardy of layoff be placed on State Restriction of Appointments (SROA) lists. Please refer to the SROA Manual.



The impact of a layoff is limited to the State agency that is conducting the layoff.  For example, if the Department of Corrections is conducting a layoff, employees in Corrections do not have the right to "bump" less senior employees in the Department of Food and Agriculture.



Layoffs involving excluded (supervisory, managerial, and confidential) employees and rank-and-file employees in nearly all bargaining units are based on the employees' total State service. That is, the employees in a class slated for layoff who have worked for the State (in any class, for any agency) for the longest period of time are the last to be laid off.


Departments are responsible for calculating preliminary seniority scores and making necessary adjustments for qualifying prior exempt and military service.



An employee must be given at least a 30-day notice prior to the effective date of layoff. Most unions require at least a 60-day notice that layoffs will occur so they may start discussions to lessen the impact. The notice to an employee must include any options in lieu of layoff, such as demotion or transfer.

  Updated: 5/23/2012
One Column Page
Link Back to Top