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Layoffs - Staff Reductions Workshop Q&A

These questions arose from the February 6, 2008 Staff Reduction Layoff Workshop.

Department-Specific Classes

I thought Surplus was for department-specific classes while SROA was for service-wide classes.

Surplus and SROA are treated the same. Because there may be a delay getting the Scantron forms to SPB, departments may place employees on Surplus in the meantime.

My department has department-specific classes. How do I determine the appropriate service-wide class for placing employees on SROA? What if it involves different bargaining units?

In some cases, this will be easy. For example, CalHR uses the Personnel Program Analyst and Staff Personnel Program Analyst classes. These are comparable to the Associate Personnel Analyst and Staff Services Manager I classes.
If your department has unique classes and can't identify appropriate service-wide classes, you should contact your CCD Analyst for assistance.
Comparable classes are typically within the same bargaining unit.

Does a department hiring a department-specific class have to clear service-wide classes on SROA?

  • there is no SROA list for a department-specific class and
  • the hiring department wants to fill a position in the class,


the hiring department doesn't need to clear service-wide classes on SROA.

The hiring department must advertise the position for at least ten calendar days. The department must consider all surplus employees who apply.


Super SROA

Bargaining Units 2 and 9 have Super SROA. What is Super SROA and how is it different from regular SROA?

The MOUs for BU 2 and BU 9 provide for a modified SROA process called "Super SROA." Super SROA restricts hiring departments more than regular SROA does.

Who qualifies for "Super SROA?"

An employee in BU 2 or 9 who is facing
  • layoff,
  • demotion in-lieu-of layoff, or
  • mandatory geographic transfer


qualifies for Super SROA if the employee

  • works in any county touching the county where the vacancy exists,
  • works in a class with salary and responsibility equal to or within transfer range of the position, and
  • meets the minimum qualifications of the position. The hiring department can only use requirements included in the MQs to exclude an applicant.


What's the role of a hiring department in Super SROA?

A hiring department filling a position in a BU 2 or BU 9 class must
  • contact departments with surplus attorneys (BU 2) or engineers (BU 9),
  • solicit applications from surplus or SROA employees who qualify for Super SROA, and
  • fill the vacancy with a Super SROA employee if one or more applies.


Does DPA grant exceptions from "Super SROA" as it does for regular SROA?

CalHR has only granted Super SROA exceptions when there's been a true promotion-in-place.
A true promotion-in-place means there's no vacancy, and an employee promotes into the position after serving in a lower-level class. For example, this includes progression through the Staff Counsel salary ranges. It doesn't include promotion from Staff Counsel to Staff Counsel III.

If a surplus or SROA employee in BU 2 or 9 applies to a position that isn't "Super SROA," does regular SROA apply?


Vacant Positions

My department has enough vacant positions to address the reduction. Do we still need to furlough Retired Annuitants, Student Assistants, and so on?

From Section 200 of the Layoff Manual:
"Departments may
  • cut intermittent hours,
  • terminate contract employees, or
  • terminate temporary appointments such as limited-term appointments."


Your department can do these things, but they're not required.
My department has a vacant position which has been vacant for 6 months and will be lost in the sweep. Will DOF count it toward the reduction? What if my department has vacant positions? Do we need to eat them?
Departments need to work with their DOF budget analyst for exceptions.


Does a department have to ask CalHR for an exemption?

The SROA Manual | SROA Manual - Text Only (RTF) outlines exemptions that don't require CalHR approval.  For all other exemptions, departments must give CalHR the circumstances and basis for the exemption.

In the past, CalHR approved the demotional patterns. Will this stay the same?

This is the same. The demotional charts are part of the Layoff Plan. Your departmental CCD Analyst approves the plan.

In the past, CalHR met with the department and union. Has this changed?

This hasn't changed. Labor Relations Officers and CCD Analysts from CalHR will continue to support departments when meeting with the union.

If my department isn't listed, does my department need to submit anything to CalHR?

The Department of Finance provided the list. It's based on what departments said they would cut to meet the 10% reduction.  If your department finds you'll need to cut positions to meet the required reduction, you should submit a Reduction Plan to CalHR.

Does CalHR anticipate SROA employees will be placed on lists around March 3, 2008?

Yes. Departments seeking layoff reductions in the 2007-08 Fiscal Year must submit reduction and layoff plans by February 15, 2008. CalHR will post the classifications as surplus. Layoff department should submit the scantron forms to CalHR so employees can be placed on SROA.

When we post seniority scores, what order should they be in?

Either seniority score order or alphabetical order by employee name is acceptable.

On the staff reduction plan, do we need to give specific position numbers?

Yes. This helps us identify the classification. We can then work with DOF to ensure your reduction amount is appropriate.

Please explain the memoranda to SPB about the federal parity requirement described in the layoff overview chart.

SPB Rules 470, 470.1 and 472 were amended in 2003. These rules apply to layoff departments that might become ineligible for federal funding. Such departments must provide CalHR with a citation of the relevant federal authority.  CalHR determined this would be very rare. None of the previous layoffs were affected.

Is there a sample form we can use to ask employees about prior exempt service and qualifying military service?

Section 400 of the Layoff Manual has sample forms.

How should our department handle employees on military leave? What if the job goes away while they're gone? What if we need to notify them they're on SROA because they have the lowest seniority?

With regard to SROA, an employee on military leave has the same rights as any other employee.
The time an employee is on a military leave of absence counts towards seniority and state service. The hiring department should notify the employee or the employee's power of attorney. The 120 days of SROA eligibility begins when the employee returns from military duty.

How will the layoff process affect reasonable accommodation?

The hiring department should work with an employee who uses a reasonable accommodation. The hiring department should give the employee the opportunity to identify reasonable accommodations required for the new job.

Will the SSA Transfer Exam still apply? What will change?

The SSA Transfer Exam still applies. Employees must meet minimum qualifications, regardless of their surplus or SROA status.

How can a transfer reduce a PY?

If the reductions are in a specific unit, transferring employees to another unit vacates those positions.

Can departments offer employees the "golden handshake" (two years of service credit) to encourage early retirement? How?

Section 200 of the Layoff Manual discusses using early retirement to reduce staffing. Requests to use early retirement go to the Department of Finance. Departments must show DOF they can afford the program, and that it will reduce staffing.

If an employee doesn't want SROA status, does the employee still have surplus status?

No. Surplus status is part of the SROA process. To be eligible for surplus status, the employee must have SROA status.
  Updated: 3/12/2013
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