Maintaining genome stability is crucial for all cells. The budding yeast Elg1 protein, the major subunit of a replication factor C-like complex, is important for genome stability, since cells lacking Elg1 exhibit increased recombination and chromosomal rearrangements. This genome maintenance function of Elg1 seems to be conserved in higher eukaryotes, since removal of the human Elg1 homolog, encoded by the ATAD5 gene, also causes genome instability leading to tumorigenesis. The fundamental molecular function of the Elg1/ATAD5-replication factor C-like complex (RLC) was, until recently, elusive, although Elg1/ATAD5-RLC was known to interact with the replication sliding clamp PCNA. Two papers have now reported that following DNA replication, the Elg1/ATAD5-RLC is required to remove PCNA from chromatin in yeast and human cells. In this Review, we summarize the evidence that Elg1/ATAD5-RLC acts as a PCNA unloader and discuss the still enigmatic relationship between the function of Elg1/ATAD5-RLC in PCNA unloading and the role of Elg1/ATAD5 in maintaining genomic stability.