University of California, Berkeley

Procedure 65: Termination of Career Employees - Managers and Senior Professionals

NOTE: The following procedures supplement Personnel Policy 65. Each section should be read with the related policy section (UCOP).

Separating an MSP employee when there is a change in departmental needs or resources

 For assistance on MSP Terminations for Cause, please contact Employee Relations.

Process Flowcharts:

Sample Letters:

See Resources and Links.


  1. If the department determines there is a change in the business needs of the unit and is thinking about restructuring, consult the Guidelines for Department Reorganizations  (PDF).
  2. If the department decides, because of a change in business needs or funding, they can no longer justify continuing the MSP position, they should prepare a short summary of the business reasons for the decision and contact their HR Manager or Employee Relations Consultant.
  3. The department should announce to its employees that there are budget problems, and that staffing reductions may occur.
  4. Planning considerations before noticing the MSP employee:
    • If there is still some work, consider reducing the appointment[1].
    • If more work is available, consider extending the notice time past 60 days.
    • If another position is available, and the MSP employee is qualified, could the department reassign the MSP employee? If yes, review the following considerations:
  5. If you have decided to separate the MSP employee, you may offer these transition assistance[2] options:
    • Counseling or outplacement services.
    • Buy a commercial software program, such as Job Hunter Pro[3] (this may be added to a Separation Agreement (see #6, below).
    • Paid time off for interviewing for other positions.
    • Paying severance (one month of pay, or less for each full year of university service); severance requires a Separation Agreement.
    • A Separation Agreement is a separate process from the Notice of Intent to Separate letter. The Separation Agreement is drafted by UC Berkeley's HR Policy and Practice Unit, and will require additional approvals and advance preparation time.
    • In order to expedite the process, as soon as you have made your decision to pay severance, send an email request to your Employee Relations Consultant in HR Policy and Practice. The email should include a request to ask HR Policy and Practice to prepare a (first draft) Separation Agreement for employee name, with most recent date of hire, MSP Grade, job title, percentage, salary, date of Notice of Intent to Separate letter, date of separation, number of months of severance, and transition assistance offerings (if any).
    • IMPORTANT: Do not make any promises to pay a (specific) severance amount to the employee. All negotiations must be handled by the HR Policy and Practice Unit.
  6. Prepare a Notice of Intent to Separate or Notice of Intent to Reduce Appointment Percentage Letter:
    • Follow the template  (Word) for the Notice of Intent to Separate MSP (position elimination) and include the business reasons for the separation or   
    • Follow the template   (Word) for the Notice of Intent to Reduce MSP Appointment Percentage and include business reasons for the reduction in time.
    • The  Reviewer (to whom the employee may appeal in 8 days) will be the Supervisor who is writing the letter.
    • Determine if you will provide pay in lieu of notice[4].
    • Prior to issuance, your Employee Relations Consultant should review the (draft) Notice of Intent to Separate MSP (position elimination) or (draft) Notice of Intent to Reduce MSP Appointment Percentage letter.
  7. Meet with the employee:
    • You should have your HR Generalist present with you at the meeting.
    • Explain the business reasons why the employee’s position will be eliminated, or reduced in time.
    • Provide a copy of the Notice of Intent to Separate or Notice of Intent to Reduce Appointment Percentage to the employee, and explain the original is being mailed today.
    • If this is a reduction in appointment, explain the proposed position changes and impact regarding (effective date, percentage, duties, leave accruals, schedule, etc.).
    • If this is a separation, and the department is providing transition assistance, hand the employee a copy of PPSM Policy 65, and discuss what the department will offer as referenced in PPSM Policy 65 - D.
      • If this is a separation, and the department is offering severance, explain that the employee will have to sign a Separation Agreement with HR Policy and Practice Unit in order to receive severance.
      • Remember not to make any specific offers of severance, or promises at this stage. Remind the employee that the 8 days in which to respond continues to run, even if the parties enter into negotiations including a Separation Agreement.
  8. Role of Supervisor as Reviewer:
    • If the employee contacts you during the 8 calendar day appeal time period, meet with the employee and hear the employee’s concerns.  After the meeting, determine if the separation (or reduction in appointment percentage) will still proceed.  If you do not think the termination or reduction in time should proceed, (and/or) you have questions, contact your Employee Relations Consultant.
    • If you determine the separation, or reduction in time will proceed, go to step 9.
  9. Prepare a Letter of Separation or Letter of Reduction in Time.

Resources and Links

  1. Guidelines for Department Reorganizations  (PDF)
  2. Guide to Managing Human Resources: Chapter 7, Performance Management
  3. Waivers of Recruitment Guidelines
  4. Proof of Service
  5. PPSM Policy 65
  6. Outplacement Services
  7. Employee Relations Consultants
  8. Sample Letters (Word):


[1] An MSP Reduction in time does not allow severance.

[2] The decision making authority for termination assistance is the control unit head or designee.

[3] Contact Employment Services about this product.

[4] Discuss your reasons to pay in lieu of notice with your Employee Relations Consultant. 

[5] If the employee is signing a Separation Agreement, the termination assistance will be included in this document.

[6] Refer to Notice of Intent to Separate Letter; however, depending upon timing, separation date may need to be extended to a later date - also be sure to coordinate this date with HR Policy and Practice if the employee is signing a Separation Agreement.

[7] If the employee is not required to be at work, you will want to call the employee and let the employee know the Letter of Separation is being mailed.