The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 25, 2011
More state workers to return to full hours and pay next month

More than half the state workforce will return to full hours and pay starting next week.

The so-called "Personal Leave Program" ends Nov. 1 for the 95,000 employees covered by SEIU Local 1000 and another 30,000 excluded workers such as managers and supervisors.

The state sent paychecks to about 230,000 employees last month, according to the latest figures from the controller's office.

A little over one year ago, Local 1000 agreed to a contract that included one day of PLP per month for 12 months That agreement, which went into effect Nov. 1, 2010, also gave members a no-furlough guarantee during the PLP period.

Excluded managers and supervisors received similar terms via a memo issued by the Department of Personnel Administration.

Several blog users have asked if the end of PLP means that furloughs might return. Technically, it's possible, but we think it's extremely unlikely.

Brown inherited furloughs from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature. It was a convenient tool to convince a few holdout unions to agree to contracts, but he has never thought the policy is an effective way to curb spending or boost efficiency.

The third-term governor clearly prefers outright layoffs, department downsizing and consolidation to cut costs. He's pushed to merge DPA and most functions of the State Personnel Board, signed budget legislation that virtually eliminated narcotics agents at the Department of Justice and has been the guiding mind behind the state's prison and parole realignment plan.

Although he has defended furloughs in court and won, Brown's administration doesn't exult in the victories. Schwarzenegger's press office used to put out press statements after every furlough decision. Brown's office has kept mum (although in fairness, some of that may be a function of press disinterest in the 3-year-old court fights).

Even if Brown wanted to furlough state employees, it's not his call. The Legislature would have to go along. As bad as the state's budget mess might be, it's better than the dark days that launched furloughs. It's tough to envision the Democratic majority in the statehouse taking another bite out of state workers' paychecks.

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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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