The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 3, 2008
Still more about possible layoffs

We're continuing our education on the rules governing state worker layoffs and passing along information to you as we learn it.

To understand the steps of the state's layoff process, click here for a detailed chart and explainer on DPA's Web site.

Then there's this from Jason Dickerson, the guru of state worker stuff in at the LAO. He sent along the following language from the Government Code that would apply if the state enacts layoffs after reading our previous post and a question there about layoffs when most bargaining units don't have a current contract:

As for the question of expired contracts, recall that Government Code Section 3517.8(a) provides in part: "If a memorandum of understanding has expired, and the Governor and the recognized employee organization have not agreed to a new memorandum of understanding and have not reached an impasse in negotiations...the parties to the agreement shall continue to give effect to the provisions of the expired memorandum of understanding, including, but not limited to, all provisions that supersede existing law, any arbitration provisions, any no strike provisions, any agreements regarding matters covered in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 201) of Title 29 of the United States Code), and any provisions covering fair share fee deduction consistent with Section 3515.7."

Government Code Section 19997 provides that appointing powers (departments) may lay off employees "whenever it is necessary because of lack of work or funds, or whenever it is advisable in the interests of economy, to reduce the staff of any state agency." MOUs often contain layoff sections, but in general, their basic terms (departmental authority for layoffs) mirror this statutory provision.

"All layoff provisions and procedures established or agreed to...shall be subject to State Personnel Board review pursuant to Section 19816.2" of the code, according to Section 19997. Section 19816.2 provides that layoff procedures are "subject to review by the State Personnel Board for consistency with merit employment principles as provided for by Article VII of the California Constitution."

CLARIFICATION: Our post yesterday also referred to hearing from state workers who believe that the state must give them a 6-month notice before a layoff. DPA's Lynelle Jolley explained that the longer notice is a "surplus" notice, which is different from a layoff notice. Jolley also mentioned that the surplus notice period is 120 days, not six months.

We just wanted to set the record straight.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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