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What to do when you’re

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 a UCPath representative or your local benefits office (depending on your location) to confirm the provisions of your benefits.

Make sure your benefits are in order.

Contact your benefits representative to discuss your options for continuing your benefits and whether your costs will change. In some cases, you may become responsible for your portion and UC’s portion of your benefit premiums. If you choose to continue the benefits you are eligible for, you will receive monthly benefits billing invoices to pay the premiums.  

If you choose to cancel your benefits during your leave, you’ll need to submit an election form required by (and available from) UCPath. If you are unable to access your UCPath account, you can contact UCPath by phone (855-982-7284, M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.) or email (ucpath@universityofcalifornia.edu). For any benefits that you cancel, or if payment is not submitted on time for your benefits billing invoices, your benefits coverage will end after the last fully paid month.

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), contact UCPath or your benefits representative to stop your premium deductions.

Here’s how to handle specific benefits in preparation for a temporary layoff.

  • Medical, dental, vision and legal:
    • If you choose to continue these benefits, you will receive monthly benefits billing invoices to pay the premiums.
    • Under UC’s usual policy, you can continue your medical, dental, vision and legal benefits for up to four months, and UC will continue its contributions for up to four months, as well. 
    • 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 on UCPath. The procedure for enrolling or disenrolling a family member in plans is unchanged during a temporary layoff.
  • Basic Life: Your coverage continues 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. If you choose to continue these benefits, you will receive monthly benefits billing invoices to pay the premiums.
  • 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 purchase in progress, payments for the purchase will stop. You may be able to purchase 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.

Review and restart your benefits when you return.

  • If you continued coverage, it continues automatically. 
  • 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 annual contributions will be the same as before your layoff. Please note that your deductions will increase during the remaining months of the year if you missed contributions during your layoff period. 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 purchase underway or an outstanding 403(b) loan, tell your payroll representative to resume your payroll deductions. For the service credit purchase, your payment period will be extended and your deduction amount won’t change. 

Consider purchasing UCRP service credit for the time you were away.

In most cases, the sooner you start, the less it will cost you.

Review your pay statement carefully.

It’s your responsibility to let UCPath or 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 UCPath or 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.