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Important changes to UC’s policy on temporary layoffs and benefits eligibility

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As President Michael V. Drake, M.D., affirmed in his November message, UC is committed to protecting jobs as much as possible during the pandemic. To give locations the flexibility they need to address the ongoing financial crisis while doing everything possible to preserve health and welfare benefits for impacted employees, President Drake and Systemwide Human Resources have made a number of temporary policy changes.

Effective Dec. 1, 2020, through June 30, 2022, temporary layoffs and temporary reductions in time due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may extend up to a cumulative total of twelve consecutive months (instead of four months) for policy-covered employees. Along with this change, policy-covered employees who are temporarily laid off or have had a reduction in time due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are eligible for benefits will remain eligible and will continue to receive the UC contribution to premiums, for the full duration of the temporary layoff or time reduction during this period, with some exceptions (see below). 

These policy changes are subject to collective bargaining requirements for represented employees, and they do not apply to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

UC’s policy on the continuation of benefits during temporary layoff

This extension of benefits eligibility during temporary layoff does not supersede other benefits eligibility policy as detailed in UC’s Group Insurance Regulations.

Continuation of certain benefits during temporary layoff are subject to the terms and conditions of the insurance policy, as follows:

  • Disability Insurance: Basic, Voluntary Short-Term and Voluntary Long-Term Disability coverage does not continue during temporary layoff.
  • Life Insurance:
    • Basic Dependent Life Insurance coverage may continue only if the eligible employee continues Supplemental Life Insurance or has Basic Life Insurance.
    • Expanded Dependent Life Insurance coverage may continue if the eligible employee continues Supplemental Life Insurance.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA):
    • Health FSA participation may continue through COBRA during a temporary layoff.  If an employee opts to discontinue coverage through COBRA, contributions and coverage end on the last day of the month in which the final contribution was made.
    • Dependent Care (DepCare) FSA participation ends while on temporary layoff.  Contributions and coverage end on the last day of the pay period in which the final DepCare contribution was made.

An employee may choose whether or not to continue benefits while on temporary layoff. Employees choosing to continue benefits will need to make arrangements with UCPath in advance for direct payment of their portion of premiums while on temporary layoff; benefits will be terminated if payments are not made as scheduled.

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