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Classified Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How is my seniority determined?
State law mandates the process used by school districts and county offices of education to determine seniority for classified staff. Specifically, California Education Code Section 45308 states:
“Whenever a classified employee is laid off, the order of layoff within the class shall be determined by length of service. The employee who has been employed the shortest time in the class, plus higher classes, shall be laid off first.”
For classified management and SEIU, this means that seniority for the purpose of Reduction-in-Force (RIF) consists of the employee’s paid hours in that classification plus all higher classifications. For example, Jane Doe was first hired as a senior typist clerk and then promoted to a secretary position. Jane’s seniority as a secretary consists of her paid hours as a secretary. Her seniority as a senior typist clerk consists of her paid hours as a senior typist clerk plus her paid hours as a secretary.
The classified seniority lists have three columns: “credit in assignment,” “credit in other,” and “seniority credit.” The third column (seniority credit) combines the first two and then ranks the results. Also, please note that seniority is within a classification and is not dependent on the funding source or how long the employee has been in a particular work unit or division.
Classified seniority may be affected by leaves of absence. No seniority is accrued by the employee during unpaid Family and Medical Leave or unpaid Personal Leave. During paid Workers’ Compensation leave the employee continues to accrue seniority.
For CSEA members, seniority is by date rather than hours. For most classifications, this is the first date the employee began service in a regular position (also known as first probation served date). For higher-level classifications, such as para-educator healthcare, para-educator interpreter, and paraeducator translator, the seniority date is the date the employee began service in that classification (also known as class entry date).
Q: What happens if my seniority is a tie with another employee?
Seniority for classified management and SEIU positions is first ranked by regular hours paid in the classification plus all higher classifications. If a tie occurs at this level, seniority is then ranked by the date each employee entered the classification, which is shown on the seniority lists as “begin date.” If there is still a tie, seniority is then ranked by the first probation served date, which is the first date that each employee was hired into a permanent position in the classified service. (This date is not shown on the seniority report. It is found in the employee records in the HR system.) If there is still a tie, seniority is then ranked by the hire date. If a tie still remains at this point, seniority is determined by drawing lots.
CSEA seniority tie-breakers are similar, but dates are used instead of hours.
Q: Why are there names of retired or deceased employees on the seniority lists?
The system-generated classified seniority lists are provided monthly to HRS by School Financial Services. They contain the names of employees who are currently in each classification, as well as past members of the classification. In a classified RIF, employees who do not have sufficient seniority to be placed in a position in their current classification may be able to retreat/return to positions in former classifications that they held. While these lists are not the sole basis for determining seniority during a RIF, they are an invaluable tool. Classified employees who are separated from employment due to a RIF (California Education Code Sections 45308, 45117, and 45298), as well as those separated from employment due to exhaustion of leave (California Education Code Sections 45192/45195), have reemployment rights for 39 months. Classified employees who voluntarily resign may request reinstatement for a period of 39 months (California Education Code Section 45309). Individuals reemployed or reinstated during such 39- month periods keep their previously earned seniority. These individuals therefore appear on the seniority lists even after their LACOE employment has been terminated. The HR system does not purge (permanently delete) records until approximately 52 months following the cessation of all activity related to an employee’s record. Such activity includes generation of W-2 forms, health insurance coverage for COBRA-eligible dependents, etc. While employees may have concerns about seeing the names of retired and/or deceased employees on the seniority lists, their inclusion does not indicate that there are errors in the calculation of classified seniority.
Q: Can I choose to displace (“bump”) any less senior employee in my classification?
No. In a RIF, employees are first placed in available vacant positions in the classification, followed by displacement (“bumping”) in the order of highest to lowest. That means the most senior employee in the classification bumps the least senior employee, then the next most senior employee in the classification bumps the next least senior employee, and so on. This is also why RIF placements are subject to change as additional positions become available for placement.
Q: What does “Y-rating” mean?
CSEA employees placed in lower-level classifications due to the RIF will be “Y-rated” in accordance with their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CSEA Article IX.A.10). According to the agreement, such employees will receive their current (higher) rate of pay in their lower-level classifications until such time as they are offered a position in their former classification, or the salary rate of the lower level catches up with the “Y-rate.”
The provision of “Y-rating” ended on June 30, 2015 for SEIU employees placed in lower-level classifications due to the RIF.
Classified management employees placed in lower-level classifications due to the RIF are not “Y-rated” (not even if the return/retreat classification is under SEIU). Instead, they will be placed in the step on the salary range for the lower-level classification that provides the same salary rate of the higher classification or the least reduction in salary rate (Personnel Commission Rule 4215.15.A).
Q: When I am on the reemployment list do I have to take the first position offered to me?
No. Positions will be offered to those on the reemployment lists by seniority for a period of 39 months from the date of layoff. When offered a reemployment opportunity, an individual may turn down that opportunity and remain on the reemployment list for the 39-month period. However, if the individual is serving in a lower-level classification at a “Y-rated” salary, the “Y-rated” salary will not be continued after an offer of reemployment has been made (CSEA employees only).
Q: How can I help colleagues in distress due to the RIF?
Calmly acknowledge and reassure the employee that what is happening to individuals at LACOE is difficult and unfortunate. Let the employee know that HRS understands the negative impact of budget cuts and uncertainty. These feelings are a normal response to the current situation. Communicate that support is available through EASE by calling (800) 882-1341, or they may contact their healthcare provider.
Q: Who do I contact for more information regarding Health Insurance Benefits?
Contact the Benefits Office, (562) 922-6800 or (562) 803-8392, or contact your health-care provider. The Health insurance benefits office can answer questions about:
If your last name begins with: A-J, contact Marilyn Maltby (562) 922-6800
- When insurance benefits end?
- How to sign up for COBRA and how much will it cost?
If your last name begins with: K-Z, contact Kelly Johnston (562) 803-8392
Q. What happens to my flexible spending account known as a Section 125 Plan?
Contact DISCOVERY BENEFITS, (866) 451-3399.
Q. How do I find out my leave balances?
Contact your Novatime Timekeeper for this information. If you want to know whether you are eligible for specific payout and timelines, please contact payroll. Your Timekeeper can identify your pay location so that you can contact or email payroll if you need assistance.
Contact, Phone Number
Claudia Lopez, (562) 803-8428
Cynthia Jimenez, (562) 803-8797
Mercy Saldana, (562) 803-8427