End of pay cuts demanded by Newsom for employees in the State of California


Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a press conference held at the Unity Council Career Center in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland, Calif., On Monday, May 10, 2021 (Jessica Christian / San Francisco Chronicle via AP)


California state employees earn their full pay today after earning less than a year.

The month-end paychecks will reflect restored workers’ wages, as well as new increases and other miscellaneous salary adjustments negotiated with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration over the past six weeks, the spokesperson for the Office of the State Comptroller, Jennifer Hanson.

The legislature approved the agreements this week and sent them to Newsom.

“The State Comptroller’s Office plans to process personnel and payroll changes approved via the Memorandum of Understanding bill (s) forwarded to the legislature and governor in time for the July 2021 salary released on August 1. 2021, “Hanson said in the email.

Restoring the salaries of 230,000 government employees in around 150 departments and 21 employee groups is a complex task that the Comptroller’s Office administers on Vietnam War-era software in conjunction with the Department. human resources of the State.

When the pay cuts were implemented a year ago, an error by the comptroller’s office related to pension contributions allowed many state employees to keep around $ 100 more than they were. supposed to do it.

When mistakes are made or salary changes are not finalized on time, the office makes retroactive corrections.

Most state workers suffered a 9.23% base pay cut from last July after their unions negotiated leave-type personal leave programs with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration.

Workers were given two flexible days off per month in return for the pay cut, which they can bank and use at their discretion.

The time off program, called PLP 2020, also suspended the increases that employees were expected to receive under their union-negotiated contracts, and it gave employees a break on the retirement health insurance contributions they were making. normally pay.

Newsom initiated the pay cuts, which were approved by the Legislature, when budget projections made at the start of the coronavirus pandemic showed the state was facing a $ 54 billion budget deficit. The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated that the cuts would save about $ 2.4 billion in one year while increasing the state’s long-term debt.

The grim projections never materialized, as affluent Californians continued to earn money and pay taxes during the pandemic, and the state now has a surplus of around $ 80 billion.

In light of the change, the Newsom administration has negotiated with the unions to end the pay cuts a year earlier than expected for most agreements.

The suspended increases are also reinstated and employees must resume contributions to their retirement health insurance, which vary from 1.4% to 4.4%.

The agreements made by employee unions with the Newsom administration to restore wages come in two forms: full contractual agreements and supplementary letter agreements. Each of the agreements makes various changes to compensation.

Correctional officers, for example, are expected to receive nearly $ 5,000 in pandemic bonuses and new covid-related leave packages under a deal the California Correctional Peace Officers Association negotiated with the Newsom administration.

Prison maintenance workers will receive wage differentials for areas with high cost of living and recruitment difficulties.

Several groups of employees will pay new percentages for their pensions, and California Highway Patrol agents will see a new deduction for retirement health insurance as the state prepares to collect contributions from officers of the same. so that he collects them from everyone else. The program was different for officers due to a historical quirk in the way the program was administered.

The only state employee union that did not strike a new deal with the Newsom administration was Cal Fire Local 2881. Since the firefighters had a one-year deal, their pay will be reinstated from this month, even without a new deal.

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Wes Venteicher presents the popular cover of The Bee’s State Worker in the newspaper’s Capitol Office. It covers taxes, pensions, labor, state expenses, and the California government. Originally from Montana, he reported on healthcare and politics in Chicago and Pittsburgh before joining The Bee in 2018.

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