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New opportunity to apply for voluntary separation option

08 July 2009

Dear Colleagues:

Chancellor Birgeneau's message to the campus on June 15 described the current financial crisis in California and the unprecedented cuts in state funding of the University that are expected as a result. Six months ago, the campus put into place plans that included a hiring freeze and a Voluntary Separation Option (VSO) to meet an expected budget deficit of $67.2 million for 2009-10. That shortfall has now grown to $145 million, and furloughs or salary cuts are on the horizon. The campus is taking an overall 20% permanent budget cut, which will result in a number of layoffs.

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We have obtained approval from the Office of the President for a second Voluntary Separation Option (VSO-2) for 2009-10. This option is being offered again as a mechanism to reduce our workforce by giving employees control over their separation decision rather than waiting for layoff actions.

If you are considering separating or retiring from the University, I encourage you to consider applying for the program.

The UC Berkeley Voluntary Separation Option (VSO-2) provides an opportunity for non-represented permanent career staff, non-represented employees in the Librarian series, and represented employees in participating unions to apply for consideration. Under the guidelines of the program, if your application is accepted, you will receive a severance payment based on your classification and length of your service at UC, or the terms in the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

If you separate from UC Berkeley under this program, you will agree not to seek re-employment at UC for at least three years. The program guidelines include detailed provisions about repayment of the severance payment if you are re-employed at any University location within three years.

Unit managers will make the final decision about whether to accept an application, based on the business needs of the unit.

You will probably have a number of questions as you consider this opportunity. The program guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions at the website listed above include detailed information to answer those questions, including which positions are eligible to apply.

The application period begins on Monday, July 13, and ends on Friday, August 7, and the effective date of separation under the program will be October 31, 2009.

We are pleased to offer this program again as a way for employees to help the campus reduce staffing costs in the current difficult budget climate.

Nathan Brostrom
Vice Chancellor-Administration