19.1     Notice of Layoff

The department head will give at least 14 days advance written notice to nurses to be laid off unless a shorter period of time is authorized by the HRD Director.

19.2     Precedence by Employment Status

No permanent nurse shall be laid off while nurses working in an extra help, temporary, provisional, or probationary status are retained in the same class unless that nurse has been offered the extra help, temporary, or provisional appointment.  The permanent nurse will be eligible for such appointment even if the position is occupied by an RN from a travel company at the time the permanent nurse is laid off.  The order of layoff among nurses not having permanent status shall be according to the following categories:

(1)     Extra-Help

(2)     Temporary

(3)     Provisional

(4)     Probationary – among probationary nurses in a given class, order of layoff shall be by to reverse order of seniority as determined by continuous County civil service, not continuous time in that probationary period

Layoffs shall be by job classification according to reverse order of seniority as determined by total continuous County civil service, except as specified above.  More senior nurses in the division and classification subject to the layoff may volunteer to be laid off in lieu of the least senior nurse.  The following provisions shall apply in computing total continuous service:

(1)        Time spent on military leave, leaves to accept temporary employment outside the County government and leave to accept a position in the unclassified service shall count as County service.

(2)        Periods of time during which a nurse is required to be absent from his/her position by reason of an injury or disease for which he/she is entitled to and currently receiving Workers’ Comp benefits shall be included in computing length of service for the purpose of determining that nurse’s seniority rights.

(3)        Time worked in extra help status shall not count as County service.

(4)        Time worked in permanent, probationary, provisional or temporary status shall count as County service.  Part-time status shall count at the rate of one year of continuous employment for each two thousand eighty (2080) straight-time hours worked.

If two or more nurses have the same seniority, the nurse whose birthday falls closer to January 1 shall be determined more senior.

19.3        Procedures

(1)     Nurses who are laid off shall have the following three choices:

(a)        Transferring to a vacant position on a County-wide basis for which the nurse meets the minimum qualifications as determined by management.  Such employee will serve a three (3) month precepting period that will include a performance evaluation at three (3) months.  The nurse must demonstrate required competencies for the position within the allotted precepting period and obtain a competent evaluation at three (3) months. In the event the employee does not obtain a competent evaluation at three (3) months, such employee will have exhausted his/her lay-off options as defined in this section, and will be laid off, subject to the severance benefits described in Section 19.6. In the event more than one qualified employee seeks to transfer to the same vacant position, the most senior, qualified nurse shall be eligible for the position.

(b)        Displacing the employee in the same classification in the same division, having the least seniority in County service, if there is no vacant position.

(c)        On a County-wide basis, taking a voluntary demotion to a classification in which the nurse had prior permanent status in the County provided such a position is held by an employee with less seniority.

(2)     Reemployment shall occur in accordance with Civil Service Rule VIII.

(3)      Any disputes concerning the interpretation of this section shall be referred to the Human Resources Director whose decision shall be final.

(4)     A displaced nurse may request the HRD Director to place his/her name on the promotional eligible list or open eligible list for any class for which, in the Director’s opinion, he/she is qualified.  The nurse’s name will be above the names of persons who have not been displaced, ranked in the order specified in subsection 18.2.

(5)     Pursuant to the Civil Service Rules, a nurse may, with the approval of the HRD Director and the gaining department head, demote or transfer to a vacant position for which he/she possesses the necessary skills and fitness.

(6)    At the sole discretion of the HRD Director, a nurse may be allowed to transfer and displace a less senior employee in a position in which he/she had prior probationary or permanent status and which the Director determines is equivalent with respect to duties and responsibilities to the position the nurse presently occupies.

(7)     A transfer is defined as a change from one position to another in the same class, the salary range of which is not more than ten percent higher.

(8)     Part-time nurses shall not replace full-time nurses, unless the part-time nurse has held full-time status in the classification.

(9)     In addition to all other options, nurses in classifications at risk of being eliminated, as determined by the affected department head, may also be placed on reinstatement lists.

19.4     Names of Nurses Laid Off to be Placed on Reemployment and General Eligible Lists

The names of nurses laid off shall be placed on reemployment eligible lists as hereinafter specified.  Former employees appointed from a reemployment eligible list shall be restored all rights accrued prior to being laid off, such as sick leave, vacation credits, and credit for years of service.  However, such reemployed nurses shall not be eligible for benefits for which they received compensation at the time of or subsequent to the date they were laid off.

The departmental reemployment eligible list for each class shall consist of the names of nurses and former nurses having probationary or permanent status, who were laid off or whose positions were reallocated downward as a result of reclassification.  The rank order on such lists shall be determined by relative seniority as specified in 18.2.  Such lists shall take precedence over all other eligible lists in making certifications to the department in which the nurse worked.

The general reemployment eligible list for each class shall consist of the names of nurses and former nurses having probationary or permanent status who were laid off or whose positions were reallocated downward as a result of reclassification.  The rank order on such lists shall be determined by relative seniority.  Such lists shall take precedence over all other eligible lists, except departmental reemployment eligible lists, in making certifications on a County-wide basis.

The provisions of this subsection 18.4 shall not apply to employees who have accepted severance pay upon termination of employment.

19.5     Abolition of Position

The provisions of this Section 18 shall apply when an occupied position is abolished.

19.6     Severance Pay

The County will pay the County premium for nine (9) months of medical coverage (but not dental or vision) for an individual nurse who is laid off.  This coverage is contingent on the following conditions:

  1. The nurse has not refused a County job offer.
  2. The nurse is unemployed.
  3. The nurse continues to pay his/her share of the premium.
  4. The coverage is for individual health insurance only. Such coverage runs concurrently with COBRA and CalCOBRA.

With regards to #1 above, if an employee in a 1.0 FTE position is offered a half-time (.5) or less FTE position and declines the County job offer, he/she is still eligible for the severance pay if he/she is unemployed and continues to pay his/her share of the premium.

Unless herein provided for in Section 19, in the event that a nurse’s position is abolished and such nurse is unable to displace another County employee as provided in Section 19.3 of this Memorandum of Understanding, such employee shall receive reimbursement of one week of pay for each full year (2080 hours) of regular service to the County and fifty percent (50%) of the cash value of such employee’s unused sick leave; provided, however that such employee shall be eligible for reimbursement only if the employee remains in the service of the County until his/her services are no longer required by the department head. The County shall make every effort to secure comparable employment for the displaced employee in other agencies, and if such employment is secured, the nurse will not be entitled to the aforementioned reimbursement.

19.7     Education Stipend

If a nurse is laid off and not reemployed by the County through a transfer, demotion, or displacement of another employee, the County will pay up to four thousand dollars ($4,000) for tuition or fees in payment for accredited courses or training taken within twelve (12) months of layoff, and taken for the purpose of finding new employment.  The administration of this new benefit will be determined by mutual agreement between the County and the Union. Subject to the prior approval of the Human Resources Director, a nurse may use the Education Stipend described herein in advance of layoff for the purpose of training required to qualify for a transfer to a vacant position in the County, in lieu of receipt of the Education Stipend post-layoff. Pre-layoff use of the Education Stipend shall not guarantee County approval of the intended transfer. Time spent in training funded by the Education Stipend shall not count as hours worked.

19.8     Reduction in Force of Less than Fourteen (14) Days

For reductions in force of fourteen (14) days or less including “call-offs”, scheduled hours shall be reduced or cancelled in the following order:

  1. RN’s working beyond forty (40) hours in a week
  2. Volunteers to reduce or cancel hours
  3. RN’s working through a registry or through a travel company for one (1) shift in a two-week period: No regular nurse will be involuntarily reduced if there is a registry Registered Nurse or a traveler Registered Nurse working in that unit
  4. Extra Help (per diem)
  5. RN’s working through a registry or through a travel company: No regular nurse will be involuntarily reduced if there is a registry Registered Nurse or a traveler Registered Nurse working in that unit
  6. Part-Time working beyond hired FTE in that payroll week
  7. Nurses on a rotating basis per unit log.

Nurses who are voluntarily or involuntarily reduced shall be offered work within his/her facility that is being performed by R.N. registry personnel provided such nurse:  (a) is qualified to perform the work; and (b) such assignment will not adversely affect patient care.

Nurses who volunteer or are involuntarily reduced may use (within accrual balances) earned vacation, holiday or comp time, or unpaid leave of absence.

Nurses will be notified at least one and a half (1 ½) hours prior to the start of the nurse’s shift.  Nurses who are not notified at least one and a half (1 ½)  hours prior to the beginning of a scheduled shift and who report for work will be worked and paid a minimum of four (4) hours. This minimum guarantee shall not apply if the employer has contacted the nurse personally by telephone at least one and a half (1 ½) hours prior to the beginning of the shift. In attempting to make personal contact, the employer shall call nurses in order of the unit rotation list until a nurse is contacted.  If the employer is unable to personally contact any of the nurses in a unit scheduled to work, and if all of those nurses report for work, the nurse at the top of the call-off list shall be sent home without pay.  It shall be the responsibility of each nurse to notify the employer of their current phone number and address.

Prior to temporarily closing or combining units, nurses on the unit/shift to be closed/combined will be consulted on the timing and process of the closure/combination.  Staff Nurses on the affected unit/shift will also be consulted on the timing and process of reopening a unit which has been temporarily closed or combined.  Every effort will be made to provide eight hours notice prior to closing or combining units or reopening units. Management will provide orientation to interested nurses to afford them the opportunity to float to other units in their specialty area in the event of closure or call‑off.