Section 39. If permanent employees in positions having the same title in a departmental unit are to be separated from such positions because of lack of work or lack of money or abolition of positions, they shall, except as hereinafter provided, be separated from employment according to their seniority in such unit and shall be reinstated in the same unit and in the same positions or positions similar to those formerly held by them according to such seniority, so that employees senior in length of service, computed in accordance with section thirty-three, shall be retained the longest and reinstated first. Employees separated from positions under this section shall be reinstated prior to the appointment of any other applicants to fill such positions or similar positions, provided that the right to such reinstatement shall lapse at the end of the ten-year period following the date of such separation.
Any action by an appointing authority to separate a tenured employee from employment for the reasons of lack of work or lack of money or abolition of positions shall be taken in accordance with the provisions of section forty-one. Any such employee who has received written notice of an intent to separate him from employment for such reasons may, as an alternative to such separation, file with his appointing authority, within seven days of receipt of such notice, a written consent to his being demoted to a position in the next lower title or titles in succession in the official service or to the next lower title or titles in the labor service, as the case may be, if in such next lower title or titles there is an employee junior to him in length of service. As soon as sufficient work or funds are available, any employee so demoted shall be restored, according to seniority in the unit, to the title in which he was formerly employed.
If a permanent employee who has become separated from his position because of disability shall be subsequently capable of employment as determined pursuant to section eight of chapter thirty-two by the retirement board, as defined in section one of chapter thirty-two, such employee shall be placed in a position in the same or similar title in the department from which he was separated or any other department prior to the appointment from any civil service list; provided, however, that in the event that such placement of such employee occurs after a period of time greater than five years from the date of such separation or results in such employee occupying a position in a different title from the title of the position from which he was separated, such placement right shall be subject to the completion by such employee of a retraining program established by the appointing authority, and approved by the personnel administrator.
Nothing in this section shall impair the preference provided for disabled veterans by section twenty-six.