Concerns About Being Laid Off

How To Lay Off Employees With Dignity? 8 Step Laying Off Process

Concerns About Being Laid Off

Un dismissal and other forms of involuntary terminations, layoffs are conducted for reasons other than employee performance or conduct. Layoffs usually happen due to changes in the organization, economic recessions, and other related market volatile conditions.

Sometimes, organizations may wish to restructure in which case they need to choose some of the employees for layoff. If this process lacks the necessary etiquettes either on the part of the employee or the employer, the consequences are bitter as well as painful.

Your goal as an organization, therefore, is to make the separation as amicable as possible, allowing you to lay off employees with their dignity intact even as they walk out the door.

It’s quite simple – a mishandled termination of employment creates anger and resentment. That leads to lawyers, and as a manager, you want to avoid those waters wherever possible. That means you must keep the discussion away from the employee’s failings- this isn’t a coaching session, it’s a termination.

Here are some steps that will help you achieve what you want while letting the employee move on with his or her life.

Step 1Determine the extent of the problem and figure out the departments that will be affected

As a manager, you need to be able to identify your reasons for a layoff and be able to establish how the process will go down.

During a lay off you should evaluate how much the process will cost the organization and what alternatives can be taken to cut costs and save employees.

If there aren’t any, try to determine the departments that might be affected by the layoff and also prepare for it.

Step 2:  Freeze hiring

Hiring and laying off do not go hand in hand as one of the primary reasons for laying off employees is to cut costs. Therefore, when you prepare for a layoff, you should stop making new hires as this will only bring additional expenses that they organization may not be able to handle at the moment.

However, in the case where you are laying off non-performing employees, hiring can be considered to fill in front line positions that are left vacant. If this happens, you can consider the laid off employees-at least those that you think can perform well in the said positions.

Step 3:  Prepare tentative lists of employees to be laid off.

After carefully analysing the situation and determining the departments that might be affected by the layoff, the next step is actually to figure out which employees will be believing. This process is known as the performance evaluation where the manager evaluates the profane levels of all ear marked employees.

The evaluation will help you establish the best and least performing employees thus making it easier to choose those that are more valuable to the business at the moment and those to lay off. Sometimes, you can also begin by laying off employees with the least service in the organization-those hired recently.

Step 4:  Notify all employees of planned layoffs in advance.

Finding out about a possible lay off via rumours or outside information isn’t always the best thing that can happen to your employees. It tends to kill their morale, trust and the future of the organization as well. It is your responsibility as the manager to tell your employees in advance about a lay off before anyone else does.

The best way to deliver news about a lay off is a one on one meeting with your staff. Email notifications, memos, and other indirect communications are not the best way to communicate such a drastic measure.

A lay off is a sensitive issue at least it is for those affected, it should, therefore, be delivered with respect, compassion, and concern. You never know, perhaps you discussing the layoff and the reason behind it can bring up discussions and ideas that might help salvage the current situation.

Better cost saving approaches might arise during the discussion that may make you realize that after all, you don’t need to lay off employees.

Step 5: Prepare a final list of employees to be laid off

If a lay off is inevitable even after discussing the situation with staff, then it’s time you started preparing a final lay off list. You could choose to retain top performers and those in senior but critical management positions.

Preparing this list can be challenging that is why organizations are often advised to have a set termination process and policies that can be used to conduct such operations as layoffs efficiently. As you do this, be sure not to evaluate employees emotionally or be discriminatory in choosing who is going and who is staying.

Step 6: Notify affected employees

The fact that your employees already know that there is a possibility of a lay off makes them psychologically prepared for any outcome. This makes it easy for you to break the sad news to the affected employees.

You can choose to do this in private or in a group meeting with everyone involved in the termination process.

Step 7; do the deed, terminate

One thing that you shouldn’t do is to terminate employees in public and more so in a casual manner. You need to call all that are affected one by one and finalize the termination procedure behind closed doors.

Let the employees hand in any organizational property i.e. keys, files, badge, and uniforms. Take this opportunity to explain and give them their severance pay and also offer any post termination processes counselling etc. to help them cope with the situation.Lay off employees is a universally thankless task.

Step 8: Rally the remaining employees

The closure is necessary for the retained employees after a lay off. You need to call them into a meeting and explain to them that you had to do what you had to do. This gives the employees a chance to express their concerns publicly and hear directly from you what occurred. This not only minimizes concerns relating to employees’ job security but also diminishes the rumour mill.


Periods of layoff are never easy. How the organization manages the messages about the process will determine how employees and the public response to the organization in the future. If you lay off employees correctly, you and everyone concerned can each move forward with minimal disruption.

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Layoffs and Plant Closings: Know Your Rights

Concerns About Being Laid Off

If you've lost your job in a layoff, you are no doubt concerned about your finances, benefits, and finding new work.

There is help available to laid-off workers from the government, in the form of unemployment compensation. But your former employer has legal obligations as well.

This article explains your legal rights in a layoff, including what your former employer is required to do for you.

Final Paychecks After a Layoff

For most laid-off workers, money is the biggest concern. You are entitled to receive your final paycheck within time limits set by state law.

Some states give employees who have been laid off or fired a right to receive their paychecks quickly, sometimes on the day they lose their jobs or a day or two later. Other states allow employers to wait until the next regularly scheduled payday to cut a final check.

To check your state's law on final paychecks, see Nolo's article Chart: Final Paychecks for Departing Employees.

In a number of states, employers must include a departing employee's accrued vacation time (but not sick time) in the employee's final paycheck.

Some states, such as California, give all employees this legal right; other states only require employers to pay out unused vacation time if their policies or practices provide for it.

To find out how your state handles this issue, contact your state labor department. (You can find a list of links at, the official website of the federal Department of Labor.)

Severance Pay

Generally, employees who lose their jobs in a layoff have no automatic right to severance pay. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • Mass layoff severance. In a few states, employers are required to provide a small amount of severance as part of a large layoff or plant closing. See “State Warn Laws,” below.
  • Employer policies or practices of paying out severance. If your employer has a policy of paying severance to all employees (or at least to all employees who are laid off or otherwise lose their jobs through no fault of their own), you might be legally entitled to a severance payment. Courts sometimes interpret a regular history of paying out severance as a contract—or promise by your employer—to pay severance to all laid off employees.
  • Your employment contract promises severance. Most employees work at will, meaning that they aren’t guaranteed employment for a particular period of time. However, employers do use employment contracts with certain employees, and these contracts might promise severance in the event the employee is laid off.

If you think you may have a legal right to severance that your former employer is not honoring, you should consider talking to an employment lawyer.

Health Benefits

If you have been receiving health insurance coverage through your employer, you might have a legal right to continue those benefits for at least 18 months.

A federal law called Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives employees (and their dependents) the right to continue their health insurance coverage for a period of time after losing their jobs. However, employees are responsible for paying the full cost of the premium, at the group rate negotiated by their former employer.

COBRA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, but some states have similar laws that might apply to smaller employers. (For more information see our article on your rights when you leave your job.)

Federal WARN Act

The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) requires larger employers to give employees notice 60 days before an impending plant closing or mass layoff that will result in job losses for a specified number or percentage of employees. If an employer fails to give the required notice, the employee can collect wages and benefits for every day that notice is late, up to 60 days.

WARN applies only to employees with 100 or more employees, and only if there is a plant closing or mass layoff. The law defines these terms as follows:

  • A plant closing is the permanent or temporary shutdown of a single employment site or one or more facilities or operating units with a single site, which results in job loss for 50 or more employees (not including those who work fewer than 20 hours per week) during a 30-day period.
  • A mass layoff is a reduction in force that results in job loss at a single employment site, during a 30-day period, for (1) 500 or more employees (not including those who work fewer than 20 hours per week), or (2) 50 to 499 employees (not including those who work fewer than 20 hours per week), if the laid-off employees make up at least one-third of the employer's active workforce.

The law also covers staged plant closings or layoffs, which are defined the same as above but occur in stages over a period of 90 days. This rule is intended to prevent employers from getting around the law's requirements by conducting a series of smaller layoffs.

There are some exceptions to the notice requirement. If, for example, an employer closes a temporary facility or the layoffs result from a strike or lockout, the employer doesn't have to provide notice.

And employers may give less than 60 days' notice in some circumstances, including when the layoff is the result of a natural disaster or business circumstances that weren't reasonably foreseeable 60 days in advance.

State Warn Laws

More than half of the states also have laws that require employers to give notice of a layoff. Some of these laws apply to smaller employers (or smaller layoffs) than the federal WARN Act. And some require employers to do more than provide notice.

For example, Connecticut employers that permanently shut down or relocate their facility state must pay to continue their former employees' health insurance for 120 days.

In Maine, employers that discontinue business operations or relocate at least 100 miles away must pay one week of severance for each year of employment to employees who have been with the company for at least three years. To learn about your state's rules, contact your state labor department.

Unemployment Benefits

In all states, employees who are laid off are eligible for unemployment benefits, as long as they meet other eligibility requirements. To learn more, see our state articles on collecting unemployment benefits.

Additional Information

For additional information on employee rights, get Your Rights in the Workplace, by Barbara Repa (Nolo), or visit Nolo's Lawyer Directory to view personal profiles of employment law attorneys in your geographic area.

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Worried You Might Be Laid Off? Here’s What To Do

Concerns About Being Laid Off

One of the most shocking conversations you will ever have in your job is when your boss tells you that you’re done working for the company. Maybe it’s a layoff that completely blindsides you. Maybe it’s a performance-related issue that you were aware of.

No matter the cause, the actual event can be a total shocker. While getting fired and getting laid off may involve different things, it’s important to handle the situation professionally either way. And one way to do that is to prepare for it before it happens. So if you’re concerned at all about losing your job in the near future, this is well worth a read.

When managers are preparing for layoffs and termination, the process is well on its way by the time you get the message.

Because as challenging as it may be to stay focused and present in the conversation, that’s your goal. It might be difficult to think of it as such, but this is an important business discussion. Think negotiating your severance or termination package.

Here are seven tips on how to handle yourself, and what to say when you’re at a loss for words.

1. Stay Present And Manage Your Emotions

I once heard a colleague rant that she wanted to get laid off in the next round of workforce reductions. She was vocal about how she would welcome the chance to get away from her team, her boss, her job. In the next round, as luck would have it, she got laid off.

But she didn’t run around and high five everyone declaring her happiness. She freaked out. She yelled. She told everyone how unfair the system was. She loudly declared she was not going to help transition her work to someone else. There was a tacit understanding among the managers that, “Yep, we made a good decision on that one.”

You don’t want to be that person.

Even if you hate your job and are pining for a layoff notice, a job loss can knock the wind right you. The choice to leave is no longer yours; someone has made the decision for you, and that can be hard to swallow.

Instead of ranting my former colleague, take a long, slow exhale and ask for a minute to process the news. When you manage your emotions by pausing this, you help yourself stay calm, and you give yourself a chance to be present for the rest of the inevitable conversation. And by not allowing yourself to react immediately, you preserve your hard-earned reputation.

2. Keep Your Dignity

A former employee was on a last-chance performance agreement. Basically, if he screwed up one more time, he’d be fired, and he knew it. Well, it wasn’t long before he screwed up.

When I delivered the news of his termination, I could see the layers of shock, regret, and remorse on his face. He might’ve cried. He promised to change his behavior. He begged me to change the decision. (I didn’t.

) It was cringe-worthy, and I was embarrassed for him.

When managers are preparing for layoffs and termination, the process is well on its way by the time you get the message. The organization’s new head count has been calculated, the separation package prepared, and workspace charts changed. Begging for your job will almost never change the manager’s mind. So keep your dignity intact and focus on the rest of your conversation.

3. Get Your Stories Straight

Ask how the company plans to represent your separation from the company. When you seek your next gig, your employer and you want to be singing the same karaoke lyrics, if you know what I mean.

If you’re being let go because of team restructuring, it’s worth asking what other opportunities may be available to you.

You can help inform this. A simple request will do it: “I want to be sure that when you reference how I departed the company, it doesn’t hurt my chances for my next job.

Can we talk a bit about what you will say when others ask?” Ask for this in writing, so you have an official document that says you were laid off and not fired.

If you’ve been fired, your employer might agree not to mention the termination and instead simply verify the dates you were employed by the organization.

Many companies hire consultants to help employees find new gigs. Ask what kind of support, if any, the organization plans to provide. Determine how long that support will last, and what kind of career coaching you’re eligible for. And again, get it in writing if you can.

5. Ask If You’re Allowed To Apply For Other Positions Internally

Company policy may dictate this. Some places will let you do so right away. Others may impose a waiting period before rehiring or allowing you to freelance for the company in the future.

If you were fired for performance-related issues, you probably don’t want to ask, and your employer probably hopes you won’t.

But, if you’re being let go because of team restructuring, it’s worth asking what other opportunities may be available to you.

6. Take Care Of You

Get the details on severance, health insurance, when you can expect your final paycheck to arrive, how you will be compensated for unused vacation time, unused sick or personal time, when you’ll be reimbursed for travel expenses, and how you’re expected to get all of your things home. Some offices will offer to ship items to you so that you don’t have to deal with the incredibly awkward and uncomfortable packing up your area while your employees work beside you.

Ask if you’re going to be expected to help transition the work, what the expectations are, and how long that period will last.

If you have stock options, bonuses, sales commissions, tuition reimbursements, or other extras attached to your position, ask about those as well.

In a layoff, ask if you’re going to be expected to help transition the work, what the expectations are, and how long that period will last. And if you’re getting terminated, get clear on whether you’re expected to leave the building ASAP or if you can take a few hours to clean up your computer and head out at the end of the day.

Once you’ve got a handle on these details, you can step away for a day or two, and test the areas where you’d to negotiate. Perhaps you want more severance, a longer period in transition counseling, or a retention bonus for doing a super-great job transitioning your work. Be prepared to justify any requests and outline a specific proposal for what you’d to see.

You’re going to come up with more questions over time. Let your manager know you’ll review all the information that’s provided. Let her know you’ll revert with any questions or clarification you need.

Until all the details are hashed out, don’t sign anything. Most employers want you to sign a general release that says you’ll bring no legal action against them. Your final payouts are contingent upon you signing the documents. If there was ever a good time to have an attorney read over a document before you sign it, this is it!

Unexpected moments layoffs or terminations can feel a devastating personal attack. And there’s no doubt, they can be difficult to process.

When you’re able to step back and ask for what you need, however, you’ll find a small sense of empowerment that might surprise you. No matter how hard the news is, stay cool, be a pro, and start thinking about your next move.

And remember to take a couple of days before you hastily (and dramatically) post a major update on your social media channels.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Muse and is reprinted with permission.

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Laid off? These are the legal rights that can protect you

Concerns About Being Laid Off

Dawn Papandrea, Monster contributor

Understand what your legal rights are when you've been laid off.

In most cases when people are laid off, they are so shocked or emotional about the experience that they aren’t sure what to do, what their rights are, or if they might even have a legal basis to sue. As a result, they end up walking away, no questions asked—sometimes with severance pay, sometimes with nothing at all.

If you’ve been laid off, step one is to breathe. You have every right to feel stunned.

“Most employees start jobs and no one ever thinks about what’s going to happen in the event of termination,” says Christopher Davis, managing partner of Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, based in New York.

So would you know what to do if your boss called you in to have the layoff talk tomorrow? Here’s what employment law experts say you should know.

What laws protect you during a layoff?

The default in virtually all employment situations is “at will” employment, says Marc Siegel, founder and managing partner of Chicago-based Siegel & Dolan, mediator, and arbitrator. “That means an employer can terminate you for any reason, or no reason at all, as long as it’s not discriminatory.”

If you're in a protected class your age, sex, national origin, religion, or race, or if you have a disability, and you can prove that you were laid off because of it, then you might have a case.

Without getting too deep into legal jargon, here’s a quick look at some of the federal discrimination laws that cover workers.

If you’re over 40: The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 protects workers 40 and older. In addition, if you’re in that age category and you’re part of a group layoff, you’re also protected by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act. This gives you 21 days to consider any severance offer, and another seven days to revoke your agreement.

If you’re part of a minority group: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits companies from making employment decisions race/color, religion, sex, pregnancy or national origin.

If you have a disability: The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibits employment discrimination against those with disabilities.

Just suspecting your affiliation with one of these groups prompted your layoff isn’t enough to bring a claim, says Davis. “You have to prove ‘disparate impact discrimination,’ which involves some quick math. Has the company put a larger number of members of a protected category into the group of people being terminated?” says Davis.  

Other potentially illegal reasons for a layoff include:

If the employer violates public policy: For example, if an employee files a workman's compensation claim or reports an illegal or unethical behavior, and then a couple of months later is terminated, that worker might be able to prove that the layoff was done in retaliation, says Siegel.

Read up on federal whistleblower laws, as well as those in your state, if you find yourself in this situation, says Davis.

If you have to take care of a family member who is ill: The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 work weeks unpaid (26 if the care is for a servicemember), job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage.

If your employer is large: The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act sets rules for notifying workers about large layoffs and plant closures.

You must receive a written notice 60 days before the date of a mass layoff. If not, you may be able to seek damages for back pay and benefits for up to 60 days.

In some states New York, employers have to give 90 days notice.

If you think you were laid off because of any of the above reasons, consult with a local attorney to help you decide if legal action is warranted. You may also contact the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) to file a complaint.

What can you expect in severance?

Questions of legality aside, you might be wondering if you’re entitled to severance, and if it’s worth negotiating for a better package. First off, know that an employer is not obligated to give severance at all. “Some companies offer severance as a matter of company policy,” says Davis, “but it is discretionary.”

In larger companies, severance plans may be a set, standard formula, says Siegel. “Generally, you’ll see offers of one to four weeks of pay per year of service, and it’s capped at a certain number of weeks,” he adds.

The other aspect of the severance besides what you’ll be paid is what rights you’re giving up.

“If you’re getting a severance, it could be that the company is trying to discourage you from consulting with a lawyer,” says Davis. Once you sign the agreement, you give up your right to sue.

“That’s valuable to a company because they don’t want to have to pay lawyers or pay settlements or judgments.”

Also, be very careful about covenants that follow you, says Siegel. “If there are any post-employment restrictions about soliciting customers or working for competitors, sometimes the amounts they’re paying you might not be worth it,” he says.

Similar to a salary negotiation, you don’t necessarily have to take the first offer when you’re handed a severance. “There could be room to negotiate your severance. Every agreement isn’t just a goodwill gesture,” says Davis. “Companies do pay out more if there are legitimate legal claims, so always run it by a lawyer.”

In fact, coming away with a better severance is often a person’s best recourse rather than suing, since doing the latter can take years and require a lot of legal fees.

Under what circumstances should you sue? 

If you think you have a good case, you could go ahead and sue your employer, but bear in mind that it’s an arduous process, says Siegel. Ask yourself these questions:

What type of claim do I have, and is it worth fighting?

Of all the potential claims, Siegel finds that Family Medical Leave cases tend to be easiest to win, assuming you have good evidence. “Everyone knows someone who’s been sick, so juries are more sympathetic,” he says. In addition, the standard of proof in such cases is more lenient than in other cases.

Take age discrimination cases, for instance. Those require the higher “but for” standard of proof, says Siegel. In other words, you have to prove that “but for” your age, you would not have been terminated. Also, in age cases, even if you do win, don’t expect large payouts. The ADEA doesn’t allow for emotional distress damages or punitive damages, says Siegel.

With racial and sexual discrimination cases, the burden of proof is slightly less stringent—you just have to show race/sex was one factor in the discharge, says Siegel. The challenge is trying to get a unanimous jury to agree. If you can, though, you may win compensatory and punitive damages (which are allowed), says Siegel, especially in states California where damages are uncapped.

How big of a layoff is it?

“The more people that are being let go, the harder it’s going to be hard to show you were being targeted unless you have some pretty good evidence,” says Siegel.

Unfortunately, he adds, sometimes companies use a mass layoff to let a ‘red flag’ person go—whether it’s a 65-year-old, a member of a minority group who is ly to claim discrimination, or a person who filed a sexual harassment complaint.

“When they are let go with everyone else, it’s much harder to prove discrimination,” says Siegel.

Where do you live?

Depending on your state’s laws, you might have an easier time of winning a case. Siegel says generally speaking, states such as Illinois, New York, and California have stronger employee protections. Read up on your state’s labor laws via the Department of Labor’s website.

Ultimately, consulting with an attorney can help you determine whether your layoff appears to be legal or illegal, but only you can determine whether the cost of going after your former employer is worth the time and effort.

Now that you have a better understanding of your rights, should the day come when you’re laid off, you won’t be so caught off guard and will be in a better position to negotiate. If you think you might have a legal claim, be sure to work with an employment lawyer to help you walk away with a better severance or, if warranted, pursue a lawsuit.

Take this important next step

Being laid off can send you into a tailspin, no matter how many years you’ve been in the workforce. You feel stressed, angry, and, let’s face it, kinda hopeless. That’s where we come in. Could you use some help jump-starting a job search? Join Monster today.

As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent to you when positions become available.

 Those are just two quick and easy ways Monster can take some of the burden off your shoulders. It’s what we’re here for!

This article is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of an attorney regarding any legal questions you may have.

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A minefield of concerns complicates laying off state workers

Concerns About Being Laid Off

A state worker who provides mental health services is pictured in an advertisement paid for by the SEIU1199. The ad describes the services state employees provide.

Though all indications are that many state employees will receive pink slips soon, several factors make it difficult for Connecticut to downsize its workforce.

And those same factors and others make it all-but-impossible to close the major budget deficits projected for the next few years with layoffs alone.

Federal mandates, surging overtime costs, anti-privatization provisions in labor contracts, competing policy objectives, political pressure and even the high cost of laying off staff, all will limit any effort to shrink state government quickly and strategically.

“We are going to be closing state facilities, I’m sure. We are going to be laying off state employees, I’m quite certain,” Malloy said earlier this month, just before his administration sent a preliminary notice of impending job reductions to most unions. “We’re going to be changing how we do business in a number of ways.”

The governor has sought — but not received — another round of concessions from state workers. His budget director has said the state needs “thousands of layoffs” to help balance the next state budget, which begins July 1.

Nonpartisan analysts say there is a built-in hole of about $900 million in next year’s finances, and a much larger gap, topping $2 billion, in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years.

Union leader Salvatore Luciano

But union leaders say their members granted concessions in 2009 and 2011, and that Malloy and legislators need to boost taxes on wealthy households and corporations — something Malloy and legislators from both parties oppose this year.

“It’s time to stop with the false assumption that working people are the only ones who should step up to protect and preserve our quality of life,” said AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel.

“The reality is that Connecticut has a fairness problem. State workers have given back at 30 times the rate as CEOs and hedge fund managers.

All working families contribute taxes at nearly twice the rate that that millionaires and billionaires do to fund vital services.”

“This whole idea of a ‘shared sacrifice’ is OK,” Sal Luciano, longtime executive director of Council 4 of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees said in a February interview. “But I keep asking, ‘When are we going to share it?’”

Luciano and other labor leaders also have warned that layoffs are not a budget-balancing panacea, and argue they won’t produce a savings that will make the corresponding loss of services worthwhile.

Layoffs don’t save as much as many assume

According to the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Research, several factors typically cut the savings from layoffs in half during the first year:

  • Depending on the union involved, workers must receive two to eight weeks’ notice.
  • Because the first two weeks of all state workers’ salary is withheld and not paid until they end employment, that expense also must be met.
  • Accrued vacation and compensatory time must be paid.
  • Payments to the Unemployment Compensation fund increase.
  • Pension fund contributions still must be made.

As Connecticut slipped deep into The Great Recession in November 2009, Gov. M.

Jodi Rell’s administration argued that layoff savings generally aren’t as large as many people might assume, even after all buy-out costs have been met.

The administration projected the potential savings from laying off 5,000 workers — roughly 1/10th of the state workforce at the time — at $300 million to $370 million.

Former Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who decided against layoffs.

Rell did not issue pink slips.

Another cost that eats away at layoff-related savings is overtime.

Under Malloy, the number of permanent, full-time employees paid for the state budget is down to about 45,000.

The Malloy administration already is facing criticism from legislators — particularly Republicans — that spending on overtime is too high. About $220 million was budgeted this fiscal year to meet that cost.

GOP lawmakers insist this could be tightened somewhat simply by better personnel management.

But union leaders say staff shortages, particularly in the departments of Correction and Social Services, only would be exacerbated by layoffs.

Legal obstacles hinder some layoffs

One of the biggest challenges Malloy faces involves limits placed by federal rules and contractual language. Under many circumstances, the state effectively is barred from laying off workers.

For example, many of the larger unions have contract language prohibiting layoffs if they are being done to privatize services.

In other words, eliminating or reducing a service is one thing. But if state jobs are to be cut while the services are to be retained — and turned over to a private contractor  — that’s a problem.

For example, Article 20 of the contract with a major human and social services workers’ bargaining unit states that “during the life of this agreement, no full-time permanent employee will be laid off as a direct consequence of the exercise by the state of its right to contract out.”

The administration currently is negotiating wage and working-condition contracts with more than a dozen bargaining units, and the governor could seek to eliminate such restrictions. But if the unions resist, the matter could end up in arbitration.

Further complicating matters, the network of community-based private, nonprofit agencies that provide the bulk of state social services now insists a combination of funding cuts and surging demand is pushing the safety net to its breaking point. If the state is going to privatize the remainder of its social services, this network will need more funding.

When Malloy unveiled his plan on Feb. 3 to re-balance the 2016-17 fiscal year — a plan that already is more than $330 million in the red because of eroding revenue projections — the head of a coalition representing 550 community-based nonprofits warned the funding in his package was woefully insufficient.

“The budget proposed by Governor Malloy this month already calls for … cuts that would devastate life-sustaining programs for thousands of Connecticut residents, said Jeffrey Walter, interim CEO of the Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy telling reporters last week that the state’s workforce must shrink.

“Cuts of that magnitude would end community-based services as we know them, shutting the doors of multiple outpatient mental health and addiction clinics; ending day programs for individuals with developmental disabilities; limiting or ending support services that help individuals find and keep jobs; and closing down services that protect victims of domestic violence, to name a few.”

Some agencies already are thin on staff

Similarly, the federal government presents another legal barrier.

Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families, which is responsible for the care of thousands of neglected or otherwise abused children, has been under the eye of a federal court monitor since 1991.

The monitor provided state officials in January with data showing unreasonable caseloads for social workers and excessive wait lists for services such as domestic violence and substance abuse treatment.

The number of children who have to wait for services has increased, while DCF spending has fallen by $59.4 million, or 7 percent since 2009. Agency staffing dropped by 306 employees, or 9 percent, over that period.

“While the department continues to make improvement on many fronts, it is constantly challenged by the state’s fiscal decisions that impact staffing and the availability of community-based resources,” Raymond Mancusso, the federal monitor, wrote in his January status report.

“Problems have persisted with respect to staffing and excessive caseloads. More than two years of instability and excessive workloads ensued as a result of a previous hiring freeze. The freeze resulted in the department being more than 100 staff short of the minimum caseload needs.

The Department of Social Services faced two federal class-action lawsuits in recent years alleging that it had failed to meet federal timeliness standards for processing applications for Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – the program formerly known as food stamps.

One of the suits tied delays in processing Medicaid applications – which the lawsuit said left people who qualified for the program going months without needed care and medications – to a shortage of staff in the department.

As part of a 2014 settlement, the state agreed to meet certain benchmarks for timely application processing.

Although the settlement did not require specific staffing levels, the department determined it would need to hire additional workers to comply.

Keith M. Phaneuf ::

Judge Patrick L. Carroll III, right, chief court administrator, testifies recently on proposed cuts to the judiciary. At left is Tom Siconolfi, executive director of administrative services for the Judicial Branch.

Judge Patrick L. Carroll III, the chief court administrator, told legislators in February that the governor’s budget proposal for 2016-17 would translate into hundreds of layoffs in the Judicial Branch and force the closure of multiple courthouses and a juvenile detention facility.

This would devastate Connecticut’s court system so severely that it would “compromise access to justice for our citizens” and possibly leave the branch unable to meet all of its constitutional obligations, he said.

Layoffs could stall transportation, Second Chance initiatives

The cutbacks also almost certainly would undermine anti-recidivism programs, such as Malloy’s “Second Chance Society” initiative, Carroll said.

But Second Chance Society might not be the only policy objective weakened or undone by layoffs.

Shortly after winning re-election to a second term in November 2014, Malloy announced he would pursue a major investment in transportation to transform Connecticut’s aging, crowded network.

But the Department of Transportation has just over 3,000 full-time employees.

That’s about the same the level it had six years ago when the legislature’s Program Review and Investigations Committee concluded it lacked adequate staff to complete projects on time and under budget.

According to the last monthly report from state Treasurer Denise L. Nappier, Connecticut has more than $3.2 billion in approved transportation bonding that it still has not issued and spent. Transportation advocates attribute that backlog, in part, to a lack of transportation planning staff, which translates into an inability to launch projects in a timely fashion.

That stranded bonding is almost double the $1.7 billion backlog that existed when Malloy first took office in January 2011.

“We are fully supportive of the governor’s vision,” David Glidden, executive director of the union that represents about 1,000 transportation engineers, planners and property agents, said last spring of Malloy’s transportation initiative. “But in order to make that vision a reality, you need the people to do the work.”

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