Laid off temporarily
It’s never easy to be laid off, even if it’s temporary. One bright spot if you’ve been notified that you’ll be laid off temporarily: you may be able to continue many of your UC benefits during your time off work. A temporary layoff lasts no longer than four months, with a date specified for you to return to work. Taking the steps below can help you tailor your benefits coverage while you’re away.
Note: The information here pertains to non-represented Professional and Support Staff (PSS) career employees and represented employees unless otherwise stipulated by the collective bargaining agreement. Talk to your local benefits office to confirm the provisions of your benefits.
Make sure your benefits are in order.
To continue benefits during your temporary layoff, contact your benefits representative to arrange to pay premiums directly while you are laid off. Your representative can help if you want to continue Health FSA coverage through COBRA.
Your benefits representative is also the person to call with questions about canceling benefits. You’ll need to submit the UPAY850 enrollment form to cancel benefits. For any benefits that you cancel—or if you don’t pay the premiums on time—your coverage ends the last day of the last month for which premiums have been paid.
Basic Disability, Voluntary Disability and Business Travel Accident coverage ends your last day actively at work before the layoff begins. If you’re enrolled in Voluntary Disability and will continue on pay status after your last active day (for instance, if you’re using accrued vacation), fill out a UPAY850 enrollment form to stop your premium deductions.
Here’s how to handle specific benefits in preparation for a temporary layoff.
- Medical, dental, vision and legal: Contact your benefits representative to arrange to pay your portion of medical and legal plan premiums during the layoff. UC will continue its contributions to medical, dental and vision premiums for up to three months. Be sure to keep your address and other contact information up to date during the layoff period, since a change in your permanent address may affect your eligibility for HMO plans. You can make those changes online. The procedure for enrolling or de-enrolling a family member in plans is unchanged during a temporary layoff.
- Basic Life: Your coverage continues for up to four months at no cost to you during your temporary layoff.
- Supplemental and Dependent Life Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment: You may continue coverage during your temporary layoff. You’ll need to contact your benefits representative to arrange to pay the premiums during your layoff.
- DepCare and Health Flexible Spending Accounts: Your contributions and coverage stop when you go off pay status. You may continue participation in the Health FSA through COBRA. You can be reimbursed for eligible expenses you incur through the end of the pay period in which you made your last contribution as long as you submit the expenses by the filing deadline for the year you incurred the expenses. If you miss the deadline you’ll forfeit any money left in the accounts.
- Tax Savings on Insurance Premiums: Contributions stop when you go off pay status. If you continue medical coverage, you’ll pay premiums on an after-tax basis.
- UCRP Contributions: Your contributions stop when you go off pay status and you do not earn service credit during your layoff. If you have a UCRP service credit buyback in progress, buyback payments will stop. You may be able to buy back service credit for your time on layoff when you return. Your benefits representative can advise you. You cannot withdraw your UCRP contributions and your Capital Accumulation Payment (CAP) during your temporary layoff.
- Contributions to your DC, 403(b) and/or 457(b) plans: Contributions stop with your last paycheck. In some cases, you may be able to take a distribution from your 403(b) or 457(b) plan. You may take a distribution from your DC Plan After-tax rollover account at any time. Contact Fidelity for information. If you have an outstanding 403(b) loan, you’ll need to arrange with Fidelity to make payments during your layoff. You may make monthly payments, pay the amount you’ll owe for the entire layoff period or repay the total amount.
- Auto/Homeowner/Renter’s insurance: You may continue coverage to the end of the contract year by paying premiums directly to the insurer. Contact your carrier directly to make the arrangements.
- Vacation and sick leave: You don’t accrue these during a temporary layoff.
- California Unemployment Insurance, if you’re on a temporary layoff between academic terms with reasonable assurance that you’ll be rehired, you’re generally not eligible.
When you return, contact your benefits representative to review and restart your benefits.
- If you continued coverage, at some locations it continues automatically. At others, you’ll need to re-enroll.
- If you didn’t continue coverage, you may sign up within 31 days for the same plans with the same coverage you were enrolled in before your layoff. After that, you’ll have to wait until the next Open Enrollment. For some plans, if you sign up later you’ll have to submit a statement of health and your application may not be accepted. For AD&D, you may enroll at any time.
- If you re-enroll in the DepCare or Health Care FSA plans in the same plan year, your monthly contributions will need to be the same as before your layoff. If you re-enroll in a new plan year, you can change your contribution amount.
- You may opt out of the TIP plan during the first 31 days after your return.
- If you continued auto/homeowner/renter’s insurance, tell your payroll representative to resume your deductions. If you canceled coverage, contact the insurance company anytime to restart it.
- If you have a previous UCRP service credit buyback under way, or an outstanding 403(b) loan, tell your payroll representative to resume your payroll deductions. For the buyback, your payment period will be extended and your deduction amount won’t change.
Arrange to buy back UCRP service credit for the time you were away, if you choose to.
Review your direct deposit statement or pay stub carefully.
It’s your responsibility to let your Benefits or Payroll representative know about any mistakes.
If you end UC employment permanently during your layoff, take steps to make a smooth transition.
If you want to continue benefits coverage through COBRA (for medical, dental, vision or health FSA) or by converting to an individual policy (for medical, legal, life or AD&D), your benefits representative can assist you. You can also check out Leaving UC Employment.
If you decide to retire, contact the Retirement Administration Service Center. You should do so before you elect to retire, since a temporary layoff may affect your retirement benefits. You’ll find the information you need at Preparing for Retirement.