Reduction in Workforce FAQ
FAQs for PEF Members Facing Layoff
When will my state health insurance coverage as an active employee end if I am laid off?
Your health, dental and vision care coverage as an active employee will end 28 days after the last day of the payroll period in which your last day on the payroll occurs.
Will I be able to continue my state health insurance coverage?
If your name is placed on a New York State Department of Civil Service Preferred list for re-employment, you may continue your Empire Plan or HMO coverage, including prescription drug coverage, for up to one year from the date your health insurance in active employee status ends or until you are re-employed in a benefits-eligible position by a public or private employer, whichever occurs first. There are circumstances where coverage is continued even if you are not eligible under Preferred List provisions. Please contact your agency Health Benefits Administrator if you are unsure of your coverage.
How much will it cost?
If you are eligible to continue your health insurance coverage under the Preferred List provisions, in order to continue your coverage you will be required to continue to pay the employee’s share of your insurance.
If you are in the Empire Plan and are laid off from a SG 10 or above position, the state will continue to pay 84 percent of the cost for individual coverage or, if you have family coverage, 69 percent of the additional cost for dependent coverage (the same as if you remained employed). If you are laid off from a SG 9 or below position the state will continue to pay 88 percent for individual coverage and 73 percent for dependent coverage.
If you are enrolled in an HMO, the state contribution will not exceed 100 percent of its dollar contribution toward the hospital/medical/mental health and substance abuse components of the Empire Plan premium (the same as if you remained employed).
If I have insurance through PEF Membership Benefits, how do I continue to pay?
If you have the following insurances:
- Group Term Life: contact Membership Benefits within 60 days of last day worked on NYS payroll and provide evidence of being laid off and the “preferred list” to qualify for waived premiums.
- Auto/Home/Renters: Contact your carrier
- Liberty Mutual: 800-734-6796
- Met Life: 800-438-6388
- Universal Life (current policy holders): USI: 800-626-0291
- Wrap Plan (current policy holders): USI: 800-626-0291
- Hospital Indemnity Plan (current policy holders): USI Affinity: 800-487-8004
- Catastrophic Insurance (current policy holders): Marsh: 800-503-9230
- Short-Term Disability or Long-Term Disability: you are no longer eligible for these insurances.
For additional benefit information, visit the PEF Membership Benefits website at www.buymbp.com , click on “Guides” in the lower left corner and select “Benefit Extension Guide” or call 800 324-4306, ext. 243.
Will I be able to continue my state dental and vision coverage?
You will be able to continue your dental and/or vision care coverage temporarily under COBRA (federal continuation of coverage law).
If you are enrolled in health insurance (the Empire Plan or an HMO), you will automatically receive information on continuing state dental and vision coverage temporarily under COBRA.
If you have questions regarding COBRA coverage, you should contact the Employee Benefits Division at (518)457-5754 or 1-800-833-4344.
How will my accruals and lag pay be paid?
You will receive a check for your lag pay as if it were a normal payroll check; your accruals will be paid out in a separate check.
What contractual benefits will remain available to me?
- Educational Benefit: Coverage continues for a year, laid off members remain eligible for education benefits provided through the Workshop and Seminar Reimbursement Program.
- Certification and Licensing: Coverage continues for a year, laid off members remain eligible for the Certification and Licensing Exam Fee Reimbursement Program.
- EAP: Laid off members may receive EAP services from NYS EAP for 30 days following the date of layoff.
Am I eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) and how do I file?
Yes, your claim should be filed in the first week that you have become totally or partially unemployed. For those laid off close of business December 31st, you should file as soon as possible following your layoff. It is important to file timely because your first week is an unpaid waiting week, commonly referred to as the “waiting period”. A delay may cost you benefits.
You can apply for UI benefits using the Benefits Online Page by going to http://www.labor.ny.gov/unemploymentassistance.shtm between the hours of 7:30am to 7:30pm Monday through Thursday (Eastern Time), Friday, 7:30am to 5:00pm, all day Saturday, and Sunday until 7:00pm.
You may also file a claim by calling the Department of Labor’s Telephone Claims Center at 1-888-209-8124 for New York State residents (or 1-877-358-5306 for out of state residents) between 8:00am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. This is a toll-free call.
Do the revolving door provisions of the Public Officers Law apply if I am laid off?
Currently yes for lifetime bar, but not for the two-year bar.
There is currently a waiver provision which amends the Public Officers Law to provide that if, due to a “consolidation or abolition of functions, curtailment of activities or other reduction in the state work force,” you are laid off, you are not subject to the two-year bar in the law that generally prohibits State employees from appearing or practicing before their former State agency or from receiving compensation for any services rendered on behalf of a new employer. Your agency is required prior to your layoff to provide you with certification that you were laid off and to notify you in writing of your rights and responsibilities under the law. Individuals who have not been designated policymakers by their agency are automatically exempt from the two year bar. Individuals designated policymakers have to apply for the waiver.
There is no such exception to the lifetime bar, which prohibits you from appearing before your former State employer in relation to any “case, proceeding, application or transaction with respect to which [you were] directly concerned and in which [you] personally participated during the period of [your] service or employment, or which was under [your] active consideration.”
Can I look for a job in the business I regulate as part of my State employment?
The general rule is that a State employee may not solicit a post-government employment opportunity with any person that has a specific matter pending before him or her; and may only solicit an employment opportunity from such a person 30 days from the time a matter is closed or the employee ceased involvement as a result of recusal or reassignment.
However, the Commission on Public Integrity, which was the predecessor agency to the current Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), created an exception to this rule for State employees facing imminent layoff. Now, the 30-day recusal period does not apply to State employees who have been targeted for layoffs, as well as for such State employees who may opt for bumping, relocation or layoff, because their position will be eliminated due to reduction in the State workforce. A State employee in such circumstances who pursues potential post-government employment opportunities must still recuse his or herself from any matters pertaining to any private entity with which he or she has employment related communications either for the duration that the employee remains employed by the agency, if targeted for layoff, or until the employee accepts another State position, if targeted for bumping or relocation.
If you have a specific question on how these post-employment restrictions may apply to you, you should contact the JCOPE directly at (518) 408-3976.
What rights do I have regarding Preferred Lists, Reemployment Rosters?
The intent of the reemployment list process is to reemploy you as quickly as possible at your previous salary grade level and employment status. Reemployment, however, may involve a different title, a lower salary grade (though restoration to the permanent salary grade you held at time of layoff is the goal), a different agency and/or a different location. Preferred lists and reemployment rosters are developed from the information you fill out on the green card your agency gave you upon notice of layoff.
A Preferred List is a list of your title when you were laid off, lower level direct line titles and closely related titles (as determined by the Department of Civil Service) Within each of these categories, eligibles laid off from the layoff unit where the job is being filled are certified before eligibles laid off from any other layoff units. Eligibles who have completed their probationary periods are certified before those who were on probation when they were laid off, and eligibles who are otherwise the same in terms of these rules are ranked by seniority.
Appointments from a preferred list (also called preferred list reinstatements) must be made in strict rank order from among those eligible candidates willing to accept appointment. Normally, no probationary periods are required for preferred list reinstatements. However, if an appointment is made to a traineeship, the appointee must serve a probationary term while the traineeship is completed.
A Reemployment Roster consists of the names of laid-off employees who are determined by the Department of Civil Service to be able to perform the duties of jobs (other than those for which they are eligible from the preferred list) based on their layoff title. Employees are expected to be able to perform these duties after a standard period of training and probation. Names on reemployment rosters are not ranked and agencies may appoint anyone who is on the roster.
Once you are laid off you will receive a letter from the Department of Civil Service that will inform you of your preferred list and reemployment roster titles. Keep a copy of this letter and a copy of your green card. If you change your address inform the Department of Civil Service as they will try to contact you when an agency is going to fill a position for which you are eligible to be hired from the preferred list and reemployment roster. There are strict rules when you accept or decline positions offered to you from a preferred list and reemployment roster and they are outlined in the Declinations and Acceptances section of the Department of Civil Service document Information for State Employees Affected by Layoff, which you received from your agency. It is also available directly on the Civil Service website at http://www.cs.ny.gov/extdocs/pdf/info4layoffs.pdf
Am I still eligible to take Promotional Examinations?
Yes, your Preferred List and Reemployment Roster eligibility is limited to the four years following your date of layoff. While you are on a preferred list you are eligible to take State civil service promotional examinations for which you meet the minimum qualifications; it is treated as if you are still working in the title from which you were laid off.
Can I be reimbursed for moving expenses related to relocation from a layoff?
Pursuant to State Finance Law §§202 and 204 and NYCRR §§155.1 through 155.3, employees who are “transferred or reassigned as a result of a relocation of an agency or subdivision of an agency or the abolition of a position” are eligible for reimbursement of moving expenses of up to $3,000 for a move of 35 miles or more. The claim must be submitted within one year of the effective date of appointment, for the basic cost of moving household goods and personal effects, including the cost of a commercial carrier or a trailer or truck rental or up to $200 if the employee does not use a commercial carrier or rent a trailer or truck. Eligible employees must file through the fiscal or administrative officer of the department or agency on the appropriate forms from the State Comptroller.