The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 5, 2011
Does personal leave time have cash value?

Our Monday post about the new analysis of the tentative agreements for California's state scientists and engineers contained a paragraph about personal leave having cash value that needs some clarification:

The Department of Personnel Administration's savings estimates don't include a provision that it negotiated later with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association and then applied via a March 30 memo to the five units that reached deals with Brown. The provision gives cash value to personal leave program time.

The Legislative Analyst's Office came to that conclusion from a hand-written note in the Unit 6 tentative agreement signed by Department of Personnel Administration Director Ron Yank, pictured below: "DPA to issue PML giving PLP cash value. For you and any of the other five open b.u.'s with whom we reach a deal. You bet, Ron Yank."

110407 Yank note.jpg

"That's what we're working off of," said LAO spokeswoman Marianne O'Malley this morning.

Yank's note doesn't "constrain authority" for PLP cashouts, she said, adding, "There's no limitation."

DPA spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley said that the administration subsequently issued a memo on March 30 that sets the parameters for cashing out personal leave time: "On rare occasions, when an employee separates from State service and has accumulated unused PLP 2010/2011 hours which cannot be used prior to the separation (e.g., death or AWOL), PLP 2010/2011 hours must be paid at the time of the employee's separation."

Let's be clear here: DPA says that there will be "rare occasions" for PLP cashouts because the memo also tells managers to make sure that employees take PLP time before other leave with cash value. That mirrors the administration's furlough leave policy detailed in a memo last October.

The term "rare occasions" doesn't mean that if an employee leaves state service with PLP time on the books that they will rarely be compensated for it.

Immediate pay reductions with the time off being deferred have been especially sensitive for CCPOA. Its members racked up time, and the union has sued in state court and in federal court over the "self-directed" furlough policy established by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Clearly, union negotiators wanted some comfort that they wouldn't have to fight that battle again with PLP.

What about other state employees in 24/7 facilities with staffing challenges? The California Association of Psychiatric Technicians struck its labor deal (which includes PLP) last summer. It isn't one of the unions included in Yank's note. What has been happening with CAPT members who have left with PLP on the books?

"We've been dealing with cases of unused PLP from the 2010 contracts on a case-by-case basis," Jolley said in an email this morning, "So in the situation you asked about -- BU 18 members working in institutions where they may have difficulty using their PLP before leaving state service -- we would handle that along the same lines described in the 3-30-11 PML."

IMAGE: DPA Director Ron Yank's note on page 89 of the Bargaining Unit 6 tentative agreement. www.dpa.ca.gov.

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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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