A little over one week ago, blogger PacoVilla of the popular PacoVilla's Corrections blog, gave us a heads up that he had heard Sacramento managers at the Employment Development Department had held secret, no-notes-allowed meetings with staff. The agenda, he told us, was to lay out how EDD employees could work a 4/10/40 schedule, stay out of the office on "Furlough Fridays" and work overtime on weekends.
We'd not heard about any secret meetings, so we made some calls. Meanwhile, Paco posted this Aug. 10 item on his blog. The post prompted about a dozen phone calls and e-mails asking us if the report was true.
Last Thursday, we received an official response to our questions from EDD spokeswoman Loree Levy:
Hi Jon - thanks again for giving us a chance to look into the inquiry about meetings and any possible circumvention of the furloughs.
The EDD Director has not authorized any such meetings or management efforts to circumvent the furloughs and related pay impact. All EDD staff are taking the mandatory 14% furlough pay reduction. The EDD Director has given clear direction that only Unemployment Insurance (UI), local Job Service (JS) staff, tax remittance staff, and functions that support these priority services are allowed self directed furloughs.
This has resulted in about 5,000 of the more than 9,000 EDD employees working on a self-directed status, meaning they continue to work on furlough days. Some even work overtime hours in order to keep up with an unprecedented demand for services vital to Californians impacted by the recession. The overtime has occurred over the past 18 months since the economic downturn first began, well before the furloughs were initiated. EDD uses overtime to meet critical programmatic needs like processing Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. We are currently evaluating the use of such overtime to ensure all managers understand when it is appropriate.
The remaining 4,000 employees of EDD are out of the office on scheduled furlough days.
There are some staff who do work a 4/10/40 schedule, as there are throughout state government. But these are nothing more than alternate work schedules and the employees must still take the pay reduction and reduced hours required by the furloughs.
Hope this information is helpful for you. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!