The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 26, 2010
The zero-pay state workers

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for payroll.gifOur most recent State Worker column outlines the possibility of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger resurrecting an order to temporarily reduce state employees' pay to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour if lawmakers fail to pass a budget by the end of June. Once a deal is in place -- which would include money allocated for wages -- the state would return everyone to full pay and issue checks for the withheld wages.

A few readers have called and e-mailed asking us to mention that there are state employees who wouldn't even get minimum wage in that scenario -- doctors and attorneys.

The Federal Labor Standards Act exempts those job classifications from any minimum salary requirement, so the state would withhold the pay of 5,000 state lawyers, administrative law judges, physicians, podiatrists, dentists and others in bargaining units 2 and 16.

Another often-overlooked group: managers, supervisors and others who don't get paid for working more than 40 hours per week. Under federal law, they'd get $455 per week until a budget deal got done.

You can read more about how a delayed budget could impact paychecks by clicking here to open DPA's Web page on the topic. The page hasn't been updated since August 2008, however, so the minimum pay details aren't current.


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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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