The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 19, 2009
Budget makes big changes to state worker overtime rules

We don't want to create worry needlessly, but we can't hold back any longer. It looks like SEIU and DPA have a serious disagreement about their recent labor agreement.

We're weeding through the new budget legislation to figure out what it means to state workers. The key bill is SBX3 8. What's clear is that unless a union negotiates a better deal for itself, its members lose Lincoln's Birthday and Columbus Day and overtime rules are significantly changed. Furloughs aren't in the legislation. We've reported that for you previously.

But a difference of interpretation between the union and the state has arisen over how to read today's budget when it comes to state worker overtime. SEIU says its deal to allow all leave except sick leave to count toward OT is supreme. DPA says, no, it's the language of the budget -- and furthermore SEIU's language to allow stricter OT rules passed by the Legislature.

Two sections of the budget bill deserve particular attention:

SEC. 5. Section 19844.1 is added to the Government Code, to read:

19844.1. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, personal leave, sick leave, annual leave, vacation, bereavement eave, holiday leave, and any other paid or unpaid leave, shall not be considered as time worked by the employee for the purpose of
computing cash compensation for overtime or compensating time of for overtime.

(b) If subdivision (a) is in conflict with the provisions of a memorandum of understanding reached or amended pursuant to Section 3517.5 on or after February 1, 2009, or the date that the act adding this section takes effect, whichever is later, that memorandum of understanding shall be controlling without further legislative action, except that if those provisions of the memorandum of understanding require the expenditure of funds, the provisions shall not become effective unless approved by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act.

SEC. 7. Section 19853 is added to the Government Code, to read: 19853. (a) All state employees shall be entitled to the following holidays: January 1, the third Monday in January, the third Monday in February, March 31, the last Monday in May, July 4, the first Monday in September, November 11, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, December 25, the day chosen by an employee pursuant to Section 19854, and every day appointed by the Governor of this state for a public fast, thanksgiving, or holiday.

(b) If a day listed in this subdivision falls on a Sunday, the following Monday shall be deemed to be the holiday in lieu of the day observed. If November 11 falls upon a Saturday, the preceding Friday shall be deemed to be the holiday in lieu of the day
observed.

(c) Any state employee who may be required to work on any of the holidays included in this section, and who does work on any of these holidays, shall be entitled to receive straight-time pay and eight hours of holiday credit.

(d) For the purpose of computing the number of hours worked, time when an employee is excused from work because of holidays, sick leave, vacation, annual leave, compensating time off, or any other leave shall not be considered as time worked by the employee for the purpose of computing cash compensation for overtime or
compensating time off for overtime.

(e) Any state employee, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 3513, may elect to receive eight hours of holiday credit for the fourth Friday in September, known as "Native American Day," in lieu of receiving eight hours of personal holiday credit in
accordance with Section 19854.

(f) Persons employed on less than a full-time basis shall receive holidays in accordance with the Department of Personnel Administration rules.

(g) If subdivision (a), (c), or (d) is in conflict with the provisions of a memorandum of understanding executed or amended pursuant to Section 3517.5 on or after February 1, 2009, or the date that the act adding this section takes effect, whichever is later, the
memorandum of understanding shall be controlling without further legislative action, except that if those provisions of the memorandum of understanding require the expenditure of funds, the provisions shall not become effective unless approved by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act.

We've talked to SEIU. Twice. We've talked to DPA. Twice. Part of the problem is that we've seen the budget language but haven't yet seen the union agreement.

You can read the budget language that affects state workers for yourself. Click here to read the bill. You'll want to scroll down to page 15 and Secton 4 of SBX3 8 which amends 19844.1 of the government code. OT and holiday terms run through page 19.

Stay tuned. We'll certainly have more from SEIU and DPA about this.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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