The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 8, 2010
So what's a 'professional development day,' anyway?

Here's part of an e-mail that typifies dozens we've received since midnight on Wednesday:

In reading the information about the contract I could not help but wonder, "What the heck is a professional development day?" Are they personal holidays to cover the two lost days?

Whatever you do, don't call them "personal holidays" -- although that's essentially what they are.

The administration says that employees can take PDDs (just what the state needs, another acronym) just like vacation time. But there's an expectation (wink wink) that the time away from work will be used to pursue professionally enriching activities. The state won't track how the time off is used.

The SEIU deal that went down in flames last year was rejected by GOP legislators in part because of a provision that added two floating personal days that replaced the Columbus Day and Lincoln's Birthday holidays that the MOU erased.

The trade-off outraged several Republicans, we've been told, even though the change would have saved the state some money by cutting down on the number of premium pay days.

Two important differences between PDD and other forms of personal paid leave: Professional development days have to be used each year or lost, and they accrue no cash value.

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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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