Looking for the latest stories? We're now at cironline.org

Reports: Furloughs causing banked vacation to skyrocket

In our story Sunday about state workers taking home millions of dollars in unused leave, we touched a little on the potential impact of state employee furloughs, which some state departments worry will cause their leave liabilities to balloon in coming years. But really, we only scratched the surface.

Furloughs, leave payouts

We talked to the California Highway Patrol, CalFire, the Department of Corrections and a few others during the course of our reporting, and they all said essentially the same thing: Furloughs have made it much harder for their employees to take paid time off, which is causing them to accumulate leave like never before.

The numbers seem to bear that out. Studies conducted by the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes have shown workers in several departments banking vacation at rates upwards of six times what they were socking away pre-furloughs. The office was founded by Senate President Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat, and has produced several reports critical of furloughs enacted by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Three reports released since last fall outline the growing burden of banked vacation in several departments:

  • According to a report released last month about furloughs at the state's Franchise Tax Board: "The amount of vacation banked by Franchise Tax Board employees has risen steadily since furloughs were imposed in February 2009, from 1.1 million hours to1.4 million hours by the end of December 2009.  (During the same period in 2008, accrued vacation declined 13,000 hours.)"
  • "Managers will have to juggle the workforce to cover the stockpiled vacation. Many employees may also cash out their banked vacation and retire in the face of (Gov. Arnold) Schwarzenegger’s proposal to cut state worker salaries across the board between 5 percent and 10 percent and boost employee pension contributions by an additional 5 percent," the report also reads.
  • Among workers in the state’s unemployment offices, “The amount of vacation taken by employment program representatives fell by more than two-thirds between the third quarters of 2008 and 2009,” according to a report released in December.
  • State corrections workers have banked approximately 500 percent more vacation than usual since furloughs began, according to an October report.

Some emergency workers – uniformed CHP officers, for example – are exempt from furloughs. And in most cases, state workers must take their furlough days on the first three Fridays of each month, which in theory precludes them from using the unpaid time off as a direct substitute for vacation.

But dozens of state departments and agencies have also been granted permission to allow their employees to bank their furlough time and take it in larger chunks, according to documents provided by the Department of Personnel Administration.

DPA outlines two types of self-directed furloughs on its Web site:

For positions that generate revenue, or where services must continue and employees normally must work on holidays: You can choose which three days to take off each month, subject to supervisor approval.

For posted positions in 24/7 facilities such as prisons and hospitals: Management will work with employees to determine which three days in the month will be taken off. When this is not operationally feasible and would jeopardize security, health or safety, management will work with employees to select time off in the future. However, deferring furlough days for future use shall only be done after all other options have been evaluated and proven unworkable. All furlough days must be taken within two years following the end of the furlough program.

We don’t know how closely these regulations are being followed (though we’d love to hear from you if you do). What we do know is that either way, vacation is being banked at a much higher rate than usual – particularly among corrections workers, who already composed about a third of vacation cash-out costs over the last few years.

More than 14,000 state workers had already exceeded their vacation and leave caps as of December 2008. We hope to get a look at updated figures within the next few weeks.


Comments are closed for this story.
missbabsonmars's picture
This article doesn't mention another fact that is contributing to banked vacation hours, though not to the same extent as that described above. That is the fact that if you take one week off, you only need to take 32 hours and not 40.
DoctorQ9's picture
But the 32 hours reflects four workdays as paid vacation. The additional day would be Furlough Friday that is unpaid. Your statement is misleading.
richardstapler's picture
DoctorQ9 - regardless, a person still gets to keep a vacation day that has monetary value in the future.
denmonty's picture
Since furloughs are to be used first, correctional officers can easily accumulate vacation and holiday hours which can be cashed out when they quit or retire. "The state furlough program is the most significant cause of the accumulation of leave balances," payday loan
automotivetoolsx's picture
Many employees may also cash out their banked vacation and retire in the face. Automotive tools : Solar panels
hzcy's picture
This was my conclusion: Like all financial crises there will be a period where markets will face a downward momentum, probably reaching below where the equilibrium correction level should be. bathroom vanity mosaic glass
hzcy's picture
there are values on what we are sharing to keep our subscribers interested. Getting them annoyed is one thing we must note do!shower enclosure bathtub shower room shower enclosure computer steam shower room
congenial's picture
Hi,Hello because I totally love your special site, i woudl be glad if you would want me to publish a site review on this site in my little Blog would you say yes?
raycruz182's picture
Hello, Good morning i totally love this site, i wuold feel very honored to write a heartful review on your awesome wordpress blog in my little Website would you grant me permission?
rrgan12's picture
McLear did criticize the Legislature, however, for not imposing the same furloughs on its staff. The study was highlighted at a news conference by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. best trading system
vesaire's picture
Many employees film izle may also indirmeden film izle cash out their sinema izle banked vacation and retire in film seyret the face.
savana's picture
Sometime it happens that the vacations affect the complete work and it should not happen. But, I like the idea of vesaire about taking out the cash from the account. Thanks and pleasure reading this post. Generic Viagra

via Twitter

© 2013 California Watch   /  development:  Happy Snowman Tech   /  design: