Chapter 19

Layoff/Nonrenewal for Program Redirection or Funding




The purpose of this policy is to provide uniform criteria and procedures in the event it becomes necessary to reduce the number of positions or to restructure the workforce.


This policy applies to all regular full-time and part-time academic staff members holding a paid current appointment.

Layoff is defined as the termination of an academic staff member’s employment because of a funding loss or a budget or program decision either prior to the end of the appointment or when proper notice of nonrenewal under ASPP 3.04 cannot be given. Prior to sending a layoff notice to a member of the academic staff, the dean’s office must seek approval of the layoff from the Academic Personnel Office. Termination of employment due to performance CANNOT be addressed through layoff.

Budget and Funding Loss DEFINED

“Budget or Program Decision” refers to the reallocation or termination of resources by a
University management decision that requires a program to be discontinued, curtailed, modified, or redirected and may result in staffing reductions in a program or operational area. This is distinct from funding loss.

“Funding Loss” is an unanticipated cancellation or reduction of a contract or grant (usually from an external agency) or an unanticipated decline in an income account supporting a particular activity. Funding loss results from a decision neither made by nor within the control of University management.


All anticipated layoffs must be reviewed, in advance, by the Academic Personnel Office. The review and approval must occur before any proposed layoff is announced or implemented. In order to review the layoff request, the dean/director’s office needs to submit the following documentation to the Academic Personnel Office.

  1. Layoff review form (signed by the chair and reviewed by the dean/director or designee).
  2. Explanation of funding loss/budget/program redirection. Please note:  If the proposed layoff is not the least senior employee in the operational area, please provide written justification as outlined in ASPP 5.02.
  3. Copy of appointment letter or copy of the most recent letter indicating the employee’s current operational area.
  4. Organizational chart for the employee’s operational area, including the names of the academic staff employed their job titles and UW-Madison start dates as academic staff.


In the event a position is terminated, managers will provide employees with formal written notification of termination due to layoff. A sample letter is enclosed in the appendices of this chapter. Information on appeal rights and the resources available to the employees is included in the sample letter.


In an event of a layoff that results in a reduction of an appointment percentage it is important to ensure that employees have an equitable and reasonable workload. Any time an employee’s appointment percentage is reduced, the supervisor or employing unit should review the employee’s work duties to establish the resulting reduction of the work expectations / responsibilities.

Even though each supervisor or employing unit has the authority to determine the schedule of individual employees, it is important to make sure that the workloads can be managed within the time frames and that they are not expected to work more than the required time commitment. 

A sample partial layoff letter is enclosed in the appendices of this chapter.

If additional funds are available, the pending layoff may be extended or rescinded. If an extension would provide the employee the required notice of nonrenewal and will bring the employee to the end of his/her current contract period then the layoff should become a nonrenewal.

If termination is no longer necessary, the layoff should be rescinded. In both cases, the academic staff member must be notified about this action in writing. A copy of the notification must be forwarded to Academic Personnel office and Campus Benefits office.

Privileges for Layoff Employees


For specific information on the policies and procedures for making a layoff decision, notification and notice period, appeal process, and referral priority/reappointment rights, see Academic Staff Policies & Procedures (ASPP Chapter 5).

Please see the Appendices for the following sample letters & forms:
Layoff Process Overview
Layoff review forms
Sample layoff letters
Sample partial layoff letter
Sample layoff extension letter
Referral Priority Brochure