Layoff Rights

Despite inadequate staffing and large class sizes, CPS continues to disrespect educators with layoffs that hurt our members, our students and our schools. Thanks to our contract, CPS is required to follow some rules when they make these layoffs and laid off teachers have rights.
CTU members have contractual rights in the event of a layoff:

This short description of those rights is not intended to answer every individual question, but it does provide a basic overview of what happens if you are a CTU member who is laid off. For a more detailed description of your rights, see Appendices H for teachers & Appendix I for PSRPs in the CTU-Board Contract.

Any individual questions should be directed to your field representative. You should email them and you can call the CTU switchboard at 312.329.9100 to ask for your field representative by name.


Who is laid off?

If changes in an attendance center or program require the layoff of some but not all teachers, the order of layoff of teachers within the affected unit and certification shall be by the following performance tiers and/or as follows:

  1. Any teachers rated unsatisfactory;
  2. Any substitute or temporary teachers;
  3. Probationary appointed teachers by performance tier (emerging: 210-250 score, developing: 251-284 score, proficient: 285-339 score, and excellent: 340-400 score);
  4. Tenured teachers rated satisfactory or, after the first evaluation in the new evaluation system issues, first tenured teachers rated emerging (210-250 score) and then tenured teachers rated developing (251-284 score);
  5. All other tenured teachers.

Do I get notice?

By contract, CPS is required to give a 21-day notice of layoff.

What benefits are connected to layoff?

Tenured Teachers

All tenured teachers, except those whose last summative rating was unsatisfactory, upon layoff for any reason shall be placed in the Reassigned Teacher Pool at the start of the subsequent school year for 10 school months. For more information, read Section 5 of Appendix H.

Probationary Appointed Teachers

H-6. Probationary Teachers’ Benefits Upon Layoff

Probationary teachers who are laid off and who have been rated in the top two rating categories shall be offered placement in the day-to-day substitute pool.

For the second school year, CPS has extended the pilot program that will guarantee continued employment for Probationary Appointed Teachers impacted by a layoff at the end of the 2022-2023 school year. PAT’s will have two options for continued employment for the 2023-2024 school year. The first option will be a full-time teaching position at a school with full salary and benefits and the second option will be employment as a centrally assigned cadre substitute teacher.

Seniority and tenure still exist. Call your field representative if you have any questions or if the layoff order has not been followed.


Appendix I, Section 1-E of our contract guarantees all laid-off PSRPs rated “developing” or better a right to placement in vacant PSRP positions for which they are qualified that exist on the 20th day of the school year.

PSRPs who are assigned to schools that are subject to closings, consolidations, or phase-out at the end of a school year and who are not reappointed prior to the first day of the work year for the following school year shall be eligible for a severance package equal to a $1,000.00 one-time payment and nine months of Board-paid insurance premiums for health care contributions coverage.

What to Do If You Are Laid Off

First, Protect Your Rights

    1. Do not resign your position unless you intend to leave the district permanently. Your layoff letter may have confusing language about resigning. Please, if you are considering that option, speak to a field representative before taking this drastic step.
    2. Collect and keep all of the documents you receive from the Board. Make sure you check your CPS e-mail regularly and print important communications to preserve a paper copy—this is important in the event you lose access to CPS e-mail.
    3. If you believe that you were laid off in error—for example, if you were laid off out of seniority order—please call and notify your Union in writing as soon as possible. To find your field rep click here.

You will be asked to:

    1. Complete a Grievance Authorization Form.
    2. Create a chronological narrative of what happened regarding this layoff and any unusual circumstances regarding this displacement.
    3. Fax the grievance authorization to 312-329-6203.

Second, Apply for Unemployment Benefits:

  • Illinois law prohibits teachers from collecting unemployment over summer break so your eligibility will begin on the first day you would have work.
  • If you are working as a day-to-day substitute, your eligibility will vary from week to week depending on how much you earned in that period from CPS. You might have weeks of full unemployment benefits, weeks of partial benefits and, if you earned more, no benefits. Your unemployment benefits will be reduced if your earnings are greater than half your benefit amount.
  • At this point, benefits are payable for a 26 week period. It is generally easiest to apply for unemployment online.
  • To begin your online application or to download helpful pamphlets and information, go to, call their Claimant Services Center at 800-244-5631 or use Teleserve at 312-338-IDES (-4337). You can also visit your local IDES office.
  • If you apply in person make sure to bring a photo ID, your social security card, a recent check stub and your termination letter from CPS.

Third, Secure Medical Insurance:

  • Laid off educators will keep their health and dental insurance through August 31. Layoff rights include insurance rights for PATs, who may apply for the Cadre Pool, and are all insured through August 31st whether they apply to be cadres or not.
  • If your spouse has insurance from his or her job you would be eligible to enroll in it, if it is part of their plan. When you lose your insurance it is called a “life event” change and you should be allowed to enroll even though it is not open enrollment. You must apply for this within 30 days from the date of the cancellation of your insurance.
  • If you choose COBRA you have 60 days to enroll from the last day you are insured. When you sign up for COBRA they will retroactively charge your coverage and fees to the first day you were released from your insurance. COBRA will be available to you and your family for a total of 18 months. It is an expensive policy. The estimated fees for family coverage are in the range of about $1,200 a month. If you do not apply for COBRA within 60 days, you will no longer be eligible for COBRA.
  • Medicaid and Illinois Kids First are insurance programs available to some families. Eligibility is determined by family income.