SROA and Layoff FAQs


State Restriction of Appointment (SROA)/Surplus

What is the SROA program? How does it work?

Answer: Placement on SROA lists is limited by the California Human Resources Department (CalHR) Rule 599.854.1, to those employees who may be subject to layoff or demotion in lieu of layoff. SROA eligibility is granted for a minimum of 120 calendar days.

An employee is normally placed on the SROA list for the class that he/she is impacted in. Up to three employees per position being abolished are approved for SROA. They are generally the three least senior permanent employees..

All appointments (including new hires, promotions, transfers, voluntary demotions, permissive reinstatements, and training and development assignments) to classes on these lists are restricted. This means that SROA lists of surplus employees must be used and/or cleared before an appointing power may use other means of filling a vacant position for the restricted class.

What does Surplus mean?

Answer: A surplus employee is in jeopardy of being laid off or demoted in lieu of layoff. Surplus employees will receive a surplus certification letter notifying them of their surplus status which they should use to seek out vacancies in classes they’re eligible to transfer into.

What does SROA mean?

Answer:Each surplus employee has SROA status placing them on a hiring certification lists for their current class and work location. Hiring departments use SROA certification lists to contact eligible employees for interviews when filling vacant positions.

What’s the difference between being designated surplus and being on an SROA list?

Answer: Both designations – surplus and SROA – entitle the employee to equal hiring preference. The only difference is:

  • SROA – departments filling a vacancy in an SROA employee’s current class and location will use the SROA list to notify employees of the vacancy.
  • Surplus – employees can use surplus status to seek out vacancies in any location or class the employee is qualified for and can transfer into.

Why did I receive an SROA/Surplus letter when the person I work with has less seniority than me and he/she did not receive a letter?

Answer: Each individual’s employment history is used to calculate seniority. If an individual believes his/her seniority score is incorrect, a discrepancy form should be included in the SROA/Surplus notification letter. If you heave misplaced your discrepancy form contact your personnel office to acquire a new one.

What should I do now that I have received my SROA notice?

Answer:  You should take a copy of your SROA notice with you on interviews and include a copy with your applications. Some hiring agencies may ask you for a copy of this document. Apply for any jobs for which you feel qualified. You may utilize the Vacancy Search page on CalHR’s website to assist you in finding vacancies,

Keep your contact information current to ensure you receive job inquiries. Make sure your address and/or phone numbers are correct in the SROA/Surplus notification letter.

 If I receive a contact letters as the result of my SROA status, do I need to respond to the hiring authority?

Answer: You no longer need to return a contact letter if you are not interested in a job vacancy. Employees on a SROA list have unlimited waivers.

If I am SROA/Surplus will I have to use my own time for interviews?

Answer: No. SROA employees should be given “reasonable time off” to go on interviews. Refer to the appropriate MOU for represented employees. Non-represented employees can refer to Government Code 19991, which allows employees on employment lists to participate in employment interviews during working hours.

Is a surplus employee eligible for reimbursement if the employee must travel to an interview?

Answer: No. No statute or regulation provides for such reimbursement.

I have submitted my SROA notice and application for an opening at another department. Are they required to interview and/or hire me?

Answer: No, the hiring authority is not required to interview you and/or hire you. There are exemptions to the SROA hiring policy as outlined in the SROA Manual which can be found at

Does a department have to hire an SROA employee before considering an employee with surplus status?

Answer: No. Surplus and SROA list employees have the exact same rights to be hired. The hiring supervisor can hire an employee with either status. The only distinction is that employees on SROA lists receive contact letters from hiring departments and surplus employees do not.

Can a department fill a position with a non-surplus or non-SROA list candidate?

Answer: Yes, if (1) no reemployment list exists for the class, (2) the SROA list has been cleared, and (3) no surplus employees express interest.

A department may also fill a position with a non-surplus or non-SROA candidate if (1) CalHR grants an exemption or (2) the department meets one of the exemption criteria in the SROA manual.

What benefit do I receive by being on SROA/Surplus status?

Answer: SROA status gives employees hiring preference. If you are placed on SROA/Surplus status, you are encouraged to apply for any position for which you meet the minimum qualifications and experience or for which you have transfer eligibility.

Does a department have to hire a surplus employee if it would be a promotion?

Answer: No. Surplus status does not give an employee an advantage when it comes to promoting.

How can I change my location preference?

Answer: SROA candidates may request a change in location preference by submitting a revised SROA (scantron) form to their institution’s Personnel Office, or to the Office of Personnel Services.

What does “Super SROA” refer to?

Answer: Two bargaining units (Units 2 and 9) have special SROA provisions negotiated in their contracts several years ago. This status does not apply to employees in SEIU Local 1000 bargaining units.

Is a surplus employee eligible for relocation reimbursement if required to relocate to accept a new job?

Answer: Only if the employee has received an official layoff notice at the time of hire to the new job (Government Code 19841). The hiring department would pay for this reimbursement.

Can a layoff department place an employee on a limited-term appointment on the SROA list for that class?

Answer: No. The employee would be placed on the SROA list either for the class from which the employee will be laid off, or for an appropriate SROA class designated by the layoff department.

Can a hiring department require a surplus employee to serve a new probationary period?

Answer: Yes, unless the appointment is to a class in which the employee already served a probationary period under the same department. See the SROA manual section on probationary periods.


How are seniority scores calculated?

Answer: For the purpose of seniority scores, an employee is given one point for each month of full-time State service (must have worked 11 days in the month), or in the case of less than full-time service, a fraction of the full-time rate that corresponds to the employee’s time base regardless of when the service occurred.

How do I challenge my seniority score?

Answer: Send in a State Service Discrepancy Form. You will receive a Notification of Discrepancy Form Review letter that will advise you of your results.

How long will it take to calculate my new seniority score and when will my score be available?

Answer: Final seniority listings will be available approximately 60 prior to the layoff effective date.

How is time calculated for seniority if I am a permanent intermittent employee?

Answer: One seniority point shall be credited for every 160 hours. On or after April 1999, a pay period shall be considered qualifying when an intermittent employee works eighty-eight hours or more. If an employee works less than eighty-eight hours in a monthly pay period, it shall be a considered a non-qualifying pay period; and such hours shall not be counted or accumulated.

For seniority score purposes, does my time served in an exempt classification count?

Answer: Yes, seniority credit applies as defined in Section 4, Article VII, Constitution of the State of California and DPA Rule Section 599.841, including verifiable service for the legislature, judicial branch, state universities and colleges and the University of California.

How is military service applied to my seniority score?

Answer: Some employees may qualify for additional military service seniority credit. A maximum of 12 seniority points may be awarded to employees who served during a recognized campaign. This information is verified through completion and submission of the CalHR Form 190 “Military Service Information” along with a copy of your DD-214 discharge document. If an employee believes that they qualify for additional seniority credit based on military service, they should follow the instructions listed in the SROA/Surplus notification letter.

Will the airtime I purchased be counted toward my seniority score?

Answer: No. Any time purchased for the purpose if increasing your seniority time for retirement will NOT be counted toward your seniority for the purpose of the placement process.

Bumping Rights

 Who can I bump?

Answer: You may bump anyone in your department in the area of layoff that is in your Primary, Secondary or Personal Demotional pattern and has lower seniority than you.

Can I “Bump” someone with less seniority in a classification that makes the same pay or more than me?

No. You can’t bump someone in a class with the same maximum salary. The law governing demotional rights requires that you demote to a class with a lower maximum salary.

*Bumping rights can be different on a case by case basis.

Area of Layoff

What are the possible “area of layoff” types?

Answer: The department initiating a layoff determines the area of layoff, it can be either (1) Statewide, (2) Geographic, or (3) Organizational or functional.

The first two are common, but the “organizational or functional” type is rarely used. It’s appropriate when a department has hired employees for a specific project with a limited duration with the understanding their employment would end when the project was completed.

When is the area of layoff “statewide?”

Answer: When any of these are true: (1) the department conducted statewide recruitment, testing, and hiring for the layoff class, or (2) employees typically change residence to accept appointment to the layoff class, or (3) employees in the layoff class typically rotate between positions in one geographic area and another.

When is the area of layoff “geographic?”

Answer: When both of these are true: (1) the department conducted local recruitment, testing, and hiring for the layoff class, and (2) employees in the layoff class normally stay in the original location where they were hired.

Can a department have more than one area of layoff?

Answer: Yes.

Is there more than one type of geographic area of layoff?

Answer: Yes. Geographic areas of layoff can be by: (1) county (most common), (2) facility, or (3) region.

Demotional patterns

What are “primary” demotional patterns?

Answer: A “primary” demotional pattern consists of lower-level classes in the same series as the layoff class.

What are “secondary” demotional patterns?

Answer: : A “secondary” demotional pattern consists of lower-level classes that: (1) have knowledge and abilities so similar to those of the layoff class that the employee could perform the duties in a six-month period, (2) normally provides a source of recruitment for the layoff class, or has an entry-level class in common with the layoff class, (3) does not require a license, certificate, or special education not required for the layoff class, and (4) will not drastically impact the operations of the layoff department by eliminating all the trained employees in a key program.

What are “personal” demotional patterns?

Answer: A “personal” demotional pattern is any class in which an employee held a permanent or probationary appointment and whose salary is within transfer range of, or lower than, the salary of the layoff class.

Limited Term/Retired Annuitants

Can I be laid off before a limited term or a retired annuitant is removed?

Answer: No. Except in limited circumstances involving a limited term holding a position for someone with a right to return, a limited term or a retired annuitant must be removed from their position before a permanent full-time employee in that class may be impacted by layoff.

Options Worksheet Letter

What is an “options letter”?

Answer: An “options letter” will identify any of the possible alternatives to layoff that the department has provided for you. These can include bumping, transfers, demotions, retirement, or voluntary layoff.

When will I receive an options letter?

Answer: Typically an “options letter” will be sent anywhere from 90-60 days before the possible date of layoff.

Award Letter

When will I receive an “award letter?”

Answer: You will receive an “award” letter a minimum of 30 days before the action to be taken on the letter.

What information will be held in an “award” letter?

Answer: An “award” letter will identify what the outcome is with the particular options you selected in the “options” letter. It will identify whether you are (1) not impacted due to seniority, (2) to remain in the same classification in the same county, (3) to remain in the same classification in a different county, (4) being demoted in lieu of layoff, or (5) you are being laid off.

Can I begin a new placement before the award date?

Answer: Yes, if the new department/institution, the old department/institution and the DPA agree to the early transfer.


What classifications do I have reemployment rights in?

Answer: All affected employees will have reemployment eligibility for the classification they last occupied but also have reemployment rights in their personal and primary demotional patterns. Your demotional rights were identified on the placement options worksheets. You can be on more than one reemployment list at the same time.

What if I turn down a job offered to me because of my reemployment rights?

Answer: You have unlimited waivers.  You can turn down as many offers as you want to.  The job will go to the most senior person on the list who accepts it.

How long will I be on the reemployment lists?

Answer: Your reemployment list eligibility is good for at least five years from the effective date of the layoff.

Can I be taken off reemployment lists?

Answer: Yes, if you receive an appointment from the list, or if you ask to be taken off the list.

If I am on the reemployment list, am I still on a SROA (State Restriction of Appointment) list?

Answer: No. You cannot be on SROA and Reemployment simultaneously.  Your SROA status ended and your reemployment rights started on the effective date of the layoff.

Can I still take a promotional exam and promote even though I’m no longer in my former job?

Answer: Yes.  This is one of your rights while on a reemployment list.

How do I make sure I’m on the correct reemployment lists?

Answer: You should be notified of your list eligibility by CalHR.  The letter should list all classifications for which you have been determined to have reemployment rights.  If you believe you have rights to a classification in your demotional pattern or that you formerly held, you must contact CalHR. If the situation is not corrected, contact your SEIU 1000 Union Resource Center to file a grievance.

Are reemployment rights by county or statewide?

Answer: All reemployment eligibles (Departmental and General) are given “statewide” as a location preference. This means that their name will certify on any certification list ordered. All reemployment eligibles are also provided with instructions on how to change their location preference, if they chose.

Is it necessary to contact reemployment eligibles via certified mail?

Answer: No. It is not necessary to mail contact letters to reemployment eligibles via certified mail. Regular mail is all that is required.

How long do I have to respond to a telephone call offering an employment opportunity?

Answer: You must be allowed two (2) full work days following the date of contact.

Can I be hired on as a limited-term or permanent basis?

Answer: All reemployment eligibles must be hired as permanent provided the position is budgeted as a permanent full-time position and is not subject to the mandatory return right of another employee.

Can I be hired into a limited term position if I choose to be or if the position is not budgeted as permanent full-time?

Answer: Yes you may. This is a choice that the reemployment eligible may make for themselves. In this case the Departmental Reemployment eligible would remain on the list for further contacts for both Limited Term and Permanent Full Time.