The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 8, 2011
Dialing for CalPERS: How long is the wait?

Thumbnail image for 111208 telephone_col-1.jpgWe're unveiling "Dialing for CalPERS," a regular (and highly unscientific) feature that will report how long the fund's call-routing Interactive Voice Response system tells us we have to wait to speak to a representative when we call in.

Today we navigated the system to the retiree death benefits at 10:30 a.m. The IVR voice on the other end of the line said we'd have to wait 1 hour and 33 minutes to speak to a representative.

CalPERS is continuing to experience "unusually long" wait times when members call in, the fund's recording says, a by-product of a transition to its 3-month-old, half-billion-dollar computer system. The State Worker has heard from dozens of disgruntled government employees and retirees with tales of phone waits of up to 2 hours or more when they're trying to get information or straighten out errors. (Click here for a recent report on the CalPERS computer system.)

Fund spokesman Brad Pacheco said in a Nov. 29 email that the fund has been fine-tuning the telephone system and offered these statistics:

During the 10 weeks since we launched my|CalPERS, 34 members out of the 98,000 calls answered waited more than 2 hours.

During the last 2 weeks, 3 members out of the over 17,000 calls answered waited more than 2 hours. Our average wait time for members over the past two weeks has been 27 minutes.

We'll post CalPERS' lastest numbers when they become available and we'll continue our own little spot checks. Don't be surprised if on-hold times are up, since December is a heavy month for the fund's call center because so many employees retire at the end of the year.


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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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