NYSUT Handbook for Laid-Off and Retrenched Employees

This companion guide for laid-off and retrenched employees provides information about protecting your benefits, your rights in returning to work, and news and resources to help in a job search.

NYSUT Layoff Handbook
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Table of Contents

Introduction Restarting Your Career

"As a NYSUT member in education, if you are laid off, your membership in the statewide union will be continued for free," says President Dick Iannuzzi. Membership ensures your eligibility to participate in NYSUT benefit programs and services.


1. The First Step Check With Your Union

Your principal or supervisor may ask you to sign a statement regarding your layoff. One rule of thumb: never sign anything. Check with the union first.


2. Maintaining Your NYSUT Membership

NYSUT's "zero state dues" policy for laid-off members maintains your continuity of membership and services if you lose your job.


3. Maintaining Your Health Benefits

As soon as you get a notice of layoff, contact your personnel office or benefit fund to determine the date when your insurance coverage will cease, and to learn about options such as enrolling in COBRA to continue your coverage.


4. Maintaining Your Retirement Benefits

Retirement benefits are linked to your employment status, so it's important to have clear, specific guidance on how unemployment, re-employment or a change in careers could affect your benefits at retirement.


5. Your Right to be Recalled for Vacancies

Your local union can tell you what your contract may provide in terms of seniority rights - which can affect both the order in which layoffs are made and the order in which workers may be recalled to future job openings.


6. Unemployment Insurance

Are you eligible to receive unemployment benefits? How do you apply? We answer these and more frequently asked questions on unemployment insurance.


7. NYSUT Services From Health to Finances

NYSUT Social Services staff has a broad scope of knowledge and extensive referral resources. Professionals provide free, supportive phone consultation, followed up by working with agencies and providers in your community. All contacts and resulting services from NYSUT Social Services are completely confidential.


8. Coping with Emotional Stress

People who gravitate to careers in education work in an environment that emphasizes structure and stability - so losing a job can make them "feel the ground is moving" beneath them, says Dr. Peter Kanaris, clinical psychologist and coordinator of public education for the New York State Psychological Association.


9. Your Job Search Action Plan

The AFL-CIO offers a job search action plan to help members who are out of work.  NYSUT has added further information to that list, some specifically for educators.