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COVID-19 Workforce Impacts

The university continues to confront significant logistical and financial challenges as a result of the global pandemic. Learn more about university leadership's response to COVID-19, including budget and workforce planning.

Leadership messages

Below is a summary of messages shared with the Stanford community about impacts to our workforce:

Read all leadership messages posted on Health Alerts

Read other news about Working at Stanford

Workforce Planning and Reductions

After much consideration and careful planning, this year’s budgetary challenges have unfortunately resulted in 208 permanent layoffs. They have also required 30 temporary layoffs (furloughs).

Units across the university were able to avoid even greater workforce reductions by permanently eliminating 450 open (vacant) positions and by reducing some full-time positions to part-time.

Employees who are facing permanent layoff after having completed their trial period are eligible to receive certain benefits including those listed below. Detailed information about these benefits are provided to each employee impacted by a permanent layoff.

  • Employees are being given notice 60 days in advance. During this time, affected employees will receive full pay and benefits.
  • Employees may be eligible to receive severance pay.
  • Employees may receive university contributions to health benefits for 3 months following their last day of employment.
  • Employees can elect terminal vacation, which allows them to use their unused accrued vacation, Paid Time Off, and floating holiday time to defer their layoff effective date and extend their medical benefits with Stanford.
  • Employees can take advantage of outplacement services to assist them with their career transition.

Most people who are out of work due to a layoff, whether permanent or temporary, may be eligible for unemployment benefits. However, decisions regarding eligibility are made by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) on a case-by-case basis. It is important for you to apply to EDD as soon as employment ends or your unpaid temporary layoff period starts so they can review your application and make the appropriate determination.

A temporary layoff (also referred to as a furlough) is a period, which may be up to four months for employees represented by SEIU and up to six months for all other staff, in which an employee does not perform work or receive pay. The university will continue to make contributions towards the medical plan and life insurance plan (employees must pay their portion of the premiums), and employees continue to accrue vacation and sick leave.

Temporary layoffs are an alternative to a permanent layoff for seasonal fluctuations in work or in situations where a reduction in work is expected to be temporary. An employee on temporary layoff remains a university employee and is provided an anticipated return to work date.

While we cannot predict with certainty, if the pandemic continues to worsen or if plans change for the fall academic quarter, there could be additional impacts on our operations and revenue streams. These impacts could lead to additional permanent or temporary layoffs and/or other actions.

Employees may be eligible for severance pay based on their years of benefits-eligible service. For more information on severance pay eligibility, see Administrative Guide Memo 2.1.17: Layoffs.

An FTE reduction occurs when an employee’s standard work hours, or Full-Time Equivalent (FTE), is adjusted from full-time to part-time. An employee’s work hours may be reduced for a temporary duration or permanently.

A fixed-term employee refers to an employee whose appointment has a specified end date.

A contingent employee refers to a temporary or casual employee who works limited hours during the year, and is generally not guaranteed a particular number of hours per week or duration of assignment.

Your manager and local Human Resources representative are available to answer questions and provide assistance about the layoff process. You may also contact University Human Resources - Employee & Labor Relations at (650) 721-4272 or

The following resources are available to an employee who may need support: