Referral Priority Program Information Guide

This information guide describes the services offered to Referral Priority (RP) candidates and walks through using the RP automated process. RP candidacy is available only to laid off and long-term Academic Staff employees who are non-renewed due to funding loss, budget redirection, and program redirection.

The Referral Priority Program does not guarantee that another job will be offered to the employee

Qualified candidates are responsible for all steps in this process.

In order to get the most out of this information guide, it is recommended that candidates log in to explore the RP system before continuing further.


Eligibility Requirements 

What is a Layoff? What is a Nonrenewal?

  • A layoff is defined as the termination of an academic staff member's employment because of funding loss or a budget or program decision either prior to the end of the appointment or when proper notice of nonrenewal cannot be given.
  • A nonrenewal is the termination of an academic staff member's employment at the end of the appointment because of funding loss, a budget or program decision, or unsatisfactory performance, when proper notice of nonrenewal is given.
  • The Referral Priority program assists long-term employees, who have six or more years of academic staff service at UW-Madison within the prior seven years.
  • Employees who have been laid off or nonrenewed for performance are not eligible for the Referral Priority Program.

Academic Staff Nonrenewal Notice Requirements

 Years of Academic Staff Service/Continuity Status  Minimum Notice
 Fewer than 2  3 months
 At least 2, but fewer than 6  6 months
 At least 6, but fewer than 10  9 months
 10 or more  12 months
 1-yr Rolling Horizon  12 months
 2-yr Rolling Horizon  24 months
 3-yr Rolling Horizon  36 months
 Indefinite  Can't be nonrenewed

  • Long-term non-renewed employees receive referral priority services from the date of the written notification of nonrenewal until six months after the end date of the appointment.

Academic Staff Layoff Notice Requirements

Years of Academic Staff Service/Continuity Status  Minimum Notice for Funding Loss Minimum Notice for Budget or Program Decision 
 Fewer than 2  1 month  2 months
 At least 2, but fewer than 6  2 months  3 months
 At least 6, but fewer than 10  3 months  5 months
 10 or more  4 months  6 months
 Rolling Horizon  6 months  12 months
 Indefinite  24 months  24 months

  • Academic staff employees who have been laid off receive referral priority services for three years from their termination date due to layoff.

Losing Eligibility

  • In addition to exceeding the maximum time limits established above, there are three ways a candidate can lose Referral Priority eligibility:
    • Accepting an alternative appointment. Furthermore, layoffs and nonrenewal status ends automatically when an individual accepts an alternative appointment that is not temporary, fails to accept an appropriate full-time alternative appointment, resigns, or fails to notify the Academic Personnel Office of changes of address or employment status.
    • If an applicant declines an appropriate alternative appointment.
    • If the Office of Human Resources (OHR) is unable to reach the applicant via email.

Referral Priority Automated Process 

1) Only RP candidates will be given access to the site. On, click on 'Referral Priority" as indicated below.

Referral Priority Employment Landing Page

2) If you are not already logged in, you will be prompted to enter your NetID and password. If you do not know your NetID, contact DoIT by email at: or by phone at: 608-264-4357.

NetID login screen grab

3) Review the Referral Priority vacancies by clicking on the Vacancy ID Number. Only academic staff positions are included in this listing system. Vacancies will be visible for approximately 24 hours before the position is scheduled to post to the website. RP applicants must submit interest within that time frame if they are interested in applying for the position before it is released to the website and all other applicants.

Referral Priority vacancies list screen grab

4) If you are interested in applying for a position, submit the electronic RP request form. The submission requires the upload of a resume and also allows for the upload of a cover letter. The submission is sent to the administrative contact, the HR divisional representative, and to the RP inbox (

Referral Priority Request Form screen grab

5) After clicking the Referral Priority Request link, this page will appear. It contains instructions for completing the RP Form. Follow the instructions as indicated to complete the form and then click on the 'Submit' button at the bottom of the page.

Referral Priority Form screen grab

6) After submitting the form, applicants will receive an email with contact information for the specific position they are interested it. A sample email is included below. Please note that the contact may be a different person for each position.

Referral Priority Request Form submitted sample generated email

7) Once you receive the email in step 6, you have completed the process of applying for the position before it is released to the website.

8) The contacts associated with the vacancy ID will receive the following email that is automatically generated by the system.

Referral Priority Form automatically generated sample email

Hiring Decision Makers

There are three outcomes when a hiring decision maker receives a referral before the position is released to the website:
  1. S/he reviews the RP applicant's materials and adds the applicant to the open pool. From this point forward, an RP applicant is considered the same as all other applicants in the pool.
  2. S/he chooses to not consider the RP applicant for the position. If this occurs, the hiring manager will notify the RP applicant directly of the decision and explain why the RP applicant is not being further considered for the position.
  3. S/he decides to forego the open recruitment and directly hires the RP applicant. This process must be worked out between the RP applicant and the hiring department/division.
The Referral Priority Program does not guarantee that a qualified RP applicant will receive another job.

Referral After Release

  • In some instances, a referral after the position has been released to the website may be appropriate. To do this, the RP applicant should copy on the application for the position. The Office of Human Resources will then follow up with the hiring decision maker(s) by forwarding the email showing the RP applicant's submission. OHR includes the following text in the forwarded email:
    “Good Morning,

This individual is enrolled in the Referral Priority Program, which is for those who are non-renewed for funding loss, budget, or program reasons, as well as academic staff on layoff status or on notice of layoff, who are looking to find a position within the University of Wisconsin - Madison.  These individuals have the right of referral priority to all academic staff vacancies for which they may reasonably qualify [ASPP Chapter 3.05, ASPP Chapter 5.08]. 

Please consider this referral priority candidate’s  resume and cover letter (if a cover letter is included) for this position, which should be attached to this message. We would allow cancelling this PVL and converting it to a waiver if you want to hire this candidate as referral priority and if early enough in the recruitment process.   If appropriate please extend this candidate an interview, with the understanding of no obligation to hire. Please contact the candidate directly with any questions regarding their application and to keep them updated on their status for this position.

If you have any questions regarding referral priority services please contact Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

OHR Referral Priority Team

  • Once the OHR email is sent to the hiring decision maker(s), the RP applicant receives a confirmation email from OHR stating:
       “Good Morning <insert name>,

The employing unit has been notified of your interest for this position as well as your referral priority status. The employing unit has been encouraged to extend you an interview.  They are also aware of the option to waive the recruitment and hire you directly on the PVL.  If you have any questions regarding referral priority services, please contact  If you have any questions regarding the PVL you have indicated interest in, please contact the employing unit.

Thank you,

OHR Referral Priority Team

To the top

Additional Resources 

  • Benefits Services:  RP applicants concerned about benefits can contact Benefits Services at 608-262-5650 or
  • Division of Continuing Studies: The Division of Continuing Studies supports the mission of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea by providing access to education resources for nontraditional students, lifelong learners, and the community. Included in these resources are materials to help with the job search process. Follow this link to access these resources. 
  • Job Search Support Group: A weekly gathering of job seekers designed to provide support, information, new ideas, and resources to those coping with unemployment or underemployment. Topics addressed in group are based on input from group members. Common topics include: networking, interviewing, self-awareness, effective communication, generating job leads, and other job search concerns. Follow this link to learn more about this support group. 
  • Madison Writing Assistance: Madison Writing Assistance provides thoughtful and responsive readers for all kinds of writing, including cover letters and résumés. Follow this link to learn more about this free writing service.
  • Madison Area Job Transition Program: The Madison Area Job Transition Program (MAJT) provides essential job seeking skills that help members get better jobs, faster and to provide both mental and emotional support during job transition. Follow this link to learn more about this free program. 
  • UW-Madison Classified Job Listings Website
  • UW-Madison Unclassified Title Guidelines Website
To the top

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

  • Coming soon.

Keywords:Referral Priority, academic staff, Referral Priority Program, laid off, laid off academic staff, long-term nonrenewed, long term nonrenewed, long-term non-renewed, long-term nonrenewed academic staff, funding loss, budget redirection, program redirection, Office of Human Resources, OHR, Referral Priority candidate, Referral Priority applicant, Referral Priority system, Referral Priority automated process, Referral priority automated system, referral priority program, layoff, Rolling Horizon, referral priority eligibility, job search support group, benefits services, unemployed, unemployment,   Doc ID:65542
Owner:OHR .Group:HR Policies
Created:2016-07-28 07:49 CDTUpdated:2019-09-03 14:46 CDT
Sites:HR Policies
Feedback:  1   1