The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 22, 2009
State Fund attorneys get back pay

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for SCIF logo blk.JPG
The money is on the way to State Compensation Insurance Fund legal staff.

As you'll recall (and if you don't, click here), California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment won a lawsuit against State Fund and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that claimed furloughing the roughly 500 fund employees covered by the union broke the law.

A San Francisco Superior Court judge ordered that the fund pay back the money lost to furloughs. That's now happening we're told by Controller's Office spokeswoman Hallye Jordan, who sent this e-mail after we called her Tuesday afternoon:

Looks like all of the retro payments have been "keyed," except 30, which are being "keyed" this week. Most of them are on Direct Deposit, which gets the retro payment into their bank two days after the payment is issued. If they are on paper, we send it to SCIF, which gets it to the employee. The SCIF attorneys will receive their full pay for July.

We followed up with questions about how much money is being paid back in sum and whether the payments include penalties or interest. Jordan passed our questions on to SCO payroll division staff and then forwarded the answers she received:

There was no interest or penalty associated with the back pay. We have not attempted to calculate the cost of this retroactive adjustment, and would have to write a program to extract that information. The transactions were key entered over a period of time, so the adjustments were issued over a period of about a week, not all in one payroll cycle.

I can come up with a rough estimate without writing a report to extract the information. With retirement and Social Security State contributions, it should total about $2.16 million. I arrive at this by summing the monthly salary of 465 attorneys currently working for SCIF ($3.6 million), multiplying this salary by the amount of the furlough reduction of 9.23%, then multiplying the total by 30% to add the State cost of Social Security and Retirement, and multiplying the total by 5 months. That would be pretty close to the full cost of the retroactive adjustments due to restoring the salary for the SCIF rank and file attorneys.

The next question: How is the fund addressing the disparities between employees who took furlough time off and those who deferred the time off?

We'll talk to State Fund and let you know how it resolves this precedent-setting issue, since it's possible another 5,000 SEIU Local 1000-covered employees may soon have the same question.

Thanks to blog user H for poking us about State Fund.

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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


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