CDCR layoff definitions and FAQ

This page contains information extracted from published sources as well as from the bargaining process. The Layoff Manual, the SROA Manual and Article 16 of our Contract are important references. Links are found at the bottom of this page.

Sections in italics are especially important. Read these sections carefully and make sure your rights are being respected by CDCR.

Reemployment Lists

Reemployment lists show employees who've been laid off or demoted in lieu of layoff. Hiring departments must hire from reemployments lists before using any other list.

The State Personnel Board puts employees on reemployment lists in seniority order. Employees' names go on the list for their class and every class in their primary, secondary and personal demotional pattern. The department has said you will be placed on a reemployment list for every demotional classification shown on your options worksheet.

Employees can turn down job offers as many times as they want while on a reemployment list. An employee stays on the reemployment list until he or she is rehired or five years.  (The life of the list can be extended by the State Personnel Board.)
Departmental Reemployment List

Only the layoff department uses this list. The department must hire from this list by offering a positions to each person on the list in seniority order.

Subdivision Reemployment List

Only the layoff department uses this list, and only If the layoff only occurred in a particular location. The department must hire the first name on the list when it hires for that class.

General Reemployment List

All hiring departments use this list. The department must hire one of the top three names on the list. If there are less than three names, the department can add names from the next hiring list, such as an SROA list or a promotional list, for example.

It is important to note that you can be placed on more than one reemployment list. You should receive a document, DPA-016 shortly after being demoted or laid off.  The DPA-016 lists each reemployment list you were placed on. If the department failed to put you on the correct lists, you must file an appeal at this time.

What happens to an employee's unused sick leave if the employee is laid off?

If a laid off employee is reemployed from a reemployment list, his sick leave balance is restored.  His prior service is used for purposes of calculating service credit, seniority and for determining his vacation leave accrual rate. If an employee returns to state service within six months of separation (such as layoff) sick leave and other leave credit balances are restored to the employee.

What happens to sick leave and education leave if an employee retires after being laid off?

If an employee retires within 120 days of separation, sick leave and education leave balances are converted to service credit for retirement purposes. 2,000 hours equals one year of service credit. If a retired employee reinstates to state service from retirement within six months of separation the former sick leave balance is restored to the employee and service credit is reduced accordingly.


These include classes at lower salary levels in the same series as the class of layoff, and classes in which specific employees formerly served in probationary or permanent appointments.

  • An employee has primary demotional rights to lower classes in her class series, whether or not she previously served in those classifications.  She must, of course, have sufficient seniority to claim a vacancy or bump a less senior employee in one of those classes in the area of layoff.

  • An employee has primary personal demotional rights to classes in other series in which the formerly served (in any department) in probationary or permanent appointments.  This is only of value if the layoff department uses the classes in the area of layoff and the employee has sufficient seniority to claim a vacancy or bump a less senior employee in the area of layoff.

Note: If the department fails to identify all possible demotional patterns of surplus employees and fails to determine correct seniority scores for employees in those classifications in each area of layoff, this complicates and could delay the layoff process.
Bumping is limited to the department the employee is working for at the time of layoff, even if the employee's personal demotional path includes service in another department.  Demotional rights are limited to the current department.  Returning or moving  to another department is done through the normal hiring process, not bumping or demoting.

What do surplus and SROA mean?

A surplus employee is in jeopardy of being laid off.

  • Surplus employees will receive a surplus certification letter notifying them of their surplus status.

  • Surplus employees should seek out vacancies in classes they feel qualified for and they're eligible to transfer into.

  • To help hiring departments identify surplus employees, DPA includes the employee's class title on the surplus listing (see surplus listing by class or by department).

SROA (State Restriction of Appointments): Each surplus employee automatically has SROA status. SROA status means the employee's name has been placed on SROA hiring certification lists for the employee's current class and current work location.

  • The layoff department processes SROA status on behalf of the employee effective the same date the employee receives a surplus certification letter.

  • Hiring departments use SROA certification lists to contact eligible employees for interviews when filling vacant positions.

What's the difference between being designated surplus and being on an SROA list?

Both designations - surplus and SROA - entitle the employee to equal hiring preference. The only difference is:

  • SROA - departments filling a vacancy in an SROA employee's current class and location will use the SROA list to notify employees of the vacancy

  • Surplus - employees can use surplus status to seek out vacancies in any location or class the employee is qualified for and can transfer into

What is the significance of the 120 day SROA period?

The earliest an employee can be laid off is 120 days after being placed on surplus status and on an SROA list. The 120 day period begins when SPB places the employee's name on SROA eligible certification lists and the layoff department notifies the employee of surplus/SROA status. SROA status can be extended by DPA for an additional 120-day period.

If you received SROA status after September 31, 2009 you cannot be laid off before the 120 days are up.  If you receive a 30-day notice of layoff, you may need to file a grievance to prevent early layoff. You will need to supply the union steward with a copy of your SROA notification letter and, if possible, the envelope it was mailed in. The union has developed a grievance for use by employees in this situation.
Can a department fill a position with a non-surplus or non-SROA list candidate?

Yes, if

  • no reemployment list exists for the class,
  • the SROA list has been cleared, and
  • no surplus employees express interest.

A department may also fill a position with a non-surplus or non-SROA candidate if

  • DPA grants an exemption or
  • the department meets one of the exemption criteria in the SROA manual.

When can a hiring authority bypass the surplus/SROA process?

The department does not need to clear the surplus/SROA list to:

  • hire an employee from a reemployment list,
  • hire a surplus/SROA employee,
  • hire an ISWAP employee,
  • hire a retired annuitant,
  • hire a seasonal clerk, student assistant, graduate student assistant, or casual trades employee,
  • demote an employee in lieu of layoff in the same department,
  • make an emergency appointment,
  • hire an LT employee for less than three months,
  • mandatorily reinstate an employee to the same class in the same department,
  • permissively reinstate an employee after a layoff,
  • provide reasonable accommodation of a disabled employee,
  • transfer or assign for T&D an employee in the same department, whether in the same or different class,
  • allow a voluntary demotion in the same department,
  • promote an employee in place,
  • give an employee an out-of-class assignment,
  • bypass an employee with a documented performance problem,
  • transition a LT employee to permanent status in the same position, or
  • transition an employee from reduced time to full time in the same class and department.


Why have I received a 30-day layoff notice if I have a demotional pattern available to me?

The Department of Personnel Administration and CDCR have stated that they are "checking credentials" to see if someone can be demoted into a vacancy or bump a less senior person within their area of layoff. The union's layoff team believes this practice is confusing and cruel. We believe CDCR sent these layoff notices out due to the fact that they didn't allow enough time to do this large layoff correctly. The placement team is under a lot of pressure to meet the January 31 date and it has not yet figured out who is eligible for a demotional position. There are many demotional positions available to our members that do NOT require a credential.

If you received a 30-day notice of layoff and you are eligible for a demotional position within your area of layoff and you have not been offered or awarded this position you need to: Contact the placement team and notify them of the issue. Contact the Union, by sending your information to Alex Arnone at or faxing information to 916.554.1272. If your demotional position does require a credential, please attach a copy.

Do I stay on SROA after I am laid off?

No. You will go on reemployment list(s). See above.

I am on SROA and I applied for a position and someone else was given the job, what should I do?

If you believe something was done incorrectly, first talk to that agency's personnel officer and file a complaint. Second, forward all of the information to the Union.

My layoff notice doesn't match my classification, what should I do?

Go to your Personnel Office and ask for a copy of every Notice of Personnel Action in your personnel file. These are commonly called NOPAs. These documents list your classification. We have discovered that some of the members have had their class changed and weren't aware of it. You will need to forward to the Union and the Placement Team a copy of:

  • All your NOPAs
  • Your SROA notice
  • Your layoff notice

We will do what we can to straighten it out on our end, but you will need to contact the placement team also.

My institution has started to implement the new academic models, what should I do?

Report this information immediately to Tom Stroud and Josh Kob. Tom is the bargaining team member collecting this information. Josh is the SEIU staff member assisting the team.  The department is obligated to meet and confer over the many impacts this new program will have on our members.

I know there are vacant positions at my facility, yet I was not offered a position, why did this happen?

We are being told that the placement team is trying to verify all the positions that people should be able to fill through their demotional pattern first. Then they will look at the remaining vacancies and offer positions to those impacted by layoff. In the body of the layoff notice there is a section that reads, "Although this is your formal notification of layoff, the SPU will contact you during the first few weeks of January, 2010 to discuss any other available vacant positions within the CDCR for which you have eligibility." We recommend that you visit your Personnel Office and ask for a list of vacant positions at your facility. Tell them you are being laid off and you are interested in what is available. Please report the results to Josh Kob.

I went to my Personnel Office and they said they are holding vacant positions for those who are being laid off, what should I do?

Ask them for a list of these vacant positions and tell them you are interested in applying for these positions. Tell them you are on SROA status. Document exactly what happens and send an email to Cindie Fonseca and Josh Kob.

My layoff notice arrived later than it should have. What should I do?

According to the department, layoff notices were dated Dec. 30 and mailed on Dec. 31.  Some notices were received as early as Jan. 2, 2010. Others have not yet been received as of Jan. 9, 2010. Please save the envelope. The bar code may indicate if the letter was not mailed in a timely manner. We are planning a grievance due to the delays in getting letters to affected employees. Report your late notice to Alex Arnone or fax your letter and envelope to him at 916.554.1272.

Is the union doing anything else about these layoffs?

These layoffs resulted from a combination of voter decisions, legislative decisions and decisions by the administration and the department. The union is engaged in lobbying and informing the legislature about the cuts the CDCR is making and attempting to lessen the impact through the political process as well as the bargaining process.