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What to do if 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.

COVID-19 relief policy change: Due to the extraordinary financial impact of the pandemic, President Michael V. Drake, M.D., has extended the length of temporary layoffs, and of UC's contribution to premiums, allowed for non-represented benefits-eligible employees. Non-represented employees in those groups who have been temporarily laid off or have had a reduction in time will remain eligible for UC health and welfare benefits and will continue to receive the UC contribution to premiums for the duration of the layoff/reduction in time occurring between December 1, 2020, and June 30, 2022, subject to a number of exceptions. Please see the full announcement for details.

1

Make sure your benefits are in order.

To continue benefits during your temporary layoff, contact UCPath or 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.

You'll also need to contact UCPath or your benefits representative with questions about canceling 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), 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:
    • Contact UCPath or your benefits representative to arrange to pay your portion of medical and legal plan premiums during the layoff.
    • 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. However, as noted above, the length of temporary layoffs allowed for non-represented benefits-eligible employees has been extended. Non-represented employees in those groups who have been temporarily laid off or have had a reduction in time will remain eligible for UC health and welfare benefits and will continue to receive the UC contribution to premiums for the duration of the layoff/reduction in time occurring between December 1, 2020, and June 30, 2022, subject to a number of exceptions. Please see the full announcement for details about this temporary policy change.
    • 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 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. You’ll need to contact UCPath or your benefits representative to arrange to pay the premiums during your layoff.
  • Supplemental Health Plans: You may continue coverage during your temporary layoff by paying premiums directly to the carrier. Contact the UC Plus customer service team directly to make the arrangements.
  • 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.
2

When you return, contact UCPath or 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 purchase under way, 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. 
3

Arrange to purchase UCRP service credit for the time you were away, if you choose to.

In most cases, the sooner you start, the less it will cost you.
4

Review your direct deposit statement or pay stub carefully.

It’s your responsibility to let UCPath or your Benefits or Payroll representative know about any mistakes.

5

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.