The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 19, 2012
First wave of top-step pay raises to show up on Feb. 1 checks

State workers in six unions will see a pay increase on their February checks in keeping with contract terms bargained in 2010 with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Some managers and supervisors will also see similar pay bumps.

A state analysis of the negotiated pay hikes concluded that they will cost the general fund about $32.3 million and another $28.8 million from other funds for the last six months of the current fiscal year. For fiscal 2012-13 the total cost is an estimated $122.2 million. (Click here for the LAO's report and scroll down to page 16 for a breakdown.)

The state's higher payroll cost has been preceded by years of furloughs and contractual unpaid days off by state workers at all levels, as well as higher employee contributions toward their own retirement accounts.

The top-step increases started taking effect this month, so they will show up on Feb. 1 paychecks issued to employees in the following bargaining units who have been at the top step of their job classes for at least 12 months as of Jan. 1.



% Increase


California Association of Highway Patrolmen



California Department of Forestry Firefighters



International Union of Operating Engineers AFL-CIO



Union of American Physicians and Dentists



California Association of Psychiatric Technicians



American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees


Managers and supervisors tied to Unit 5 who are at the top step for at least a year will see a 2 percent increase on their February checks. Qualified exempt employees tied to Unit 8 will receive either 4 percent or a 5 percent bump, depending on their job class.

The same contracts that called for the deferred raises also increased employee pension contributions. Exempt employees have also been paying more toward their retirement accounts under terms of the former governor's Schwarzenegger's Oct. 7 executive order.

Pay Increases for workers covered by the remaining bargaining units, including those represented by SEIU Local 100, don't go into effect until July 1, 2013. Top-step managers and supervisors attached to those units will receive a 3 percent increase at the same time.

Here's the December pay letter from the Department of Personnel Administration to the State Controller's Office that details the pay bumps that will show up on next month's paychecks.

Pay Letter 11-25

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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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