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Legislative News

Articles for tag benefits


May Revision of the Budget: Continue Saving for the Future as Surplus Grows

Posted: 5/16/2018 Tags: benefits budget legislation pension policy retirement salary Tags Views: 340

Governor Jerry Brown released his May Revise of the Budget on May 11th, 2018. ACSS Legislative Advocate Ted Toppin provides relevant analysis and insight of the May Revise that may be of interest to managers, supervisors and other excluded state employees:

“The state continues to generate revenue at unprecedented levels and now it is coming in faster. In January, the surplus was predicted to be $6 billion. The surplus now is expected to be $9 billion.

The May Revise proposes saving for the future. In January, the Governor proposed to put an additional $4.4 billion into the state rainy day fund, topping it out at $13.8 billion – the constitutional limit. In the May Revise, he socks another $3.3 billion into a different reserve account.

Budget negotiations between the Administration and the Legislature will now heat up. The Governor will urge restraint. Legislators of both parties will push for billions of dollars in additional spending. Ultimately, you can expect the Governor to agree to modest increased spending while keeping his rainy day reserves. Regardless, the Legislature will pass a budget by June 15 and the Governor will sign it by June 30.

Here’s what the May Revise says about issues important to ACSS members:

State Employee Compensation

The January budget proposal included $1.2 billion ($589.5 million General Fund) for:

  • increased employee compensation
  • health care costs for active state employees
  • retiree health care prefunding for active employees

The May Revise decreases this amount by $8.1 million to reflect:

  • corrections to 2019 health rates
  • natural changes to enrollment in health and dental plan
  • updated employment information for salary increases
  • updated employment information for salary increases
  • revised pay increases for judges
  • updated costs related to the salary survey estimates for the California Highway Patrol (Bargaining Unit 5)

State CalPERS Contribution

The state’s contribution – $6.2 billion – to CalPERS is down slightly ($18 million) from the January estimate. The decline in the revise is mainly driven by:

  • CalPERS’ higher than expected investment return in 2016-17
  • the benefit of the state’s additional $6 billion pension payment in 2017-18
  • higher than projected enrollment of members under the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013, who have lower benefit formulas

Overall, pension reforms are beginning to reduce costs. The May Revise proposes no additional pension reforms.

State Health Care/Retiree Health Care

The May Revise makes no changes to the expected costs of providing state employees and state retirees health care.

State Employee Position Increases

The May Revise also reports that there is expected to be an additional 3,878 position in state government next year for a total of 210,767 in FY 2018-19.”

The Governor’s complete budget summary and draft budget can be found here: www.ebudget.ca.gov.


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California Supreme Court to Review a Trio of Pension Cases

Posted: 4/26/2018 Tags: benefits legislation legislature pension policy retirement Tags Views: 471

Protecting your pension and retirement benefits is a core principle for ACSS. Three cases pending before the State Supreme Court raise questions regarding the validity of the long standing “California Rule.” Since 1955, the courts have held under the California Rule that once pension benefits are granted to a public employee, they are vested and cannot be modified for the duration of an employee’s career.

>> Read more...


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ACSS Met With CalHR in a Positive Meeting to Address Issues

Posted: 9/14/2017 Tags: benefits legislation representation salary Tags Views: 1903

On September 6th, ACSS met with CalHR Director Richard Gillihan to discuss salary compaction and address other issues that affect excluded state employees. ACSS President Frank Ruffino, ACSS Executive Director Rocco Paternoster, and ACSS Assistant Director of Representation Nellie Lynn attended the meeting and agreed it was both positive and productive.

Ruffino commented, “Never before have we seen such cooperation and mutual respect between CalHR and the ACSS leadership team. This was an opportunity for great dialog which I envision will translate into positive results for ACSS members. I am optimistic for the path ahead.”

ACSS voiced concerns on behalf of members in response to our previously reported article on Pay Letter 17-18. In response to that article, members voiced their concerns to us about their specific classification not receiving a Special Salary Adjustment (SSA) similar to their subordinates. After the meeting on September 6th, ACSS and CalHR are closer to reaching some resolutions to provide additional SSAs. We intend to deliver the details to you as soon as we learn more information.

Another issue discussed with CalHR was the implementation of Out-of-State Health Care Benefits for excluded employees. CalHR decided to pass on this benefit to excluded employees based on the efforts of ACSS. The program provides for a monetary benefit for excluded employees headquartered out-of-state who cannot enroll in a CalPERS HMO. More news on this topic is coming soon.

ACSS and CalHR also addressed remaining salary compaction solutions as part of the future pay package and the budget cycle of 2018-2019.The discussion was also very positive and we hope to continue building on these discussions to ensure fair standards for all excluded employees. Progress has been made towards reaching resolutions and we will continue to move forward with our goal of having all excluded employee receive fair and equitable salary and benefits.


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ACSS Met with CalHR to Address the Concerns of Managers and Supervisors

Posted: 1/30/2017 Tags: benefits budget legislation meeting salary Tags Views: 2636

On January 19th, ACSS met with CalHR to discuss the possibility of salary increases for excluded employees in reaction to the recent rank and file agreements that were reached through bargaining in December of 2016. ACSS also intended this meeting to introduce ourselves to CalHR’s new Labor Relations Officer, Kate Van Sickle (who replaced Steven Booth). ACSS helped bring VanSickle up to speed with the history of ACSS’ efforts on advocating for resolving salary compaction and helped familiarize her with the full scope of issues that ACSS advocates for. The meeting was productive and ACSS brought valuable items to the table, yet many specific items were left unanswered by CalHR. CalHR was not specific about which classifications will get additional pay and when it may happen.

ACSS thinks that excluded employees got the better deal regarding the sweeping 3% GSI salary increase for excluded employees in October 2016 versus the $2500 one-time bonus that Rank and file recently received. The 3% GSI increase for excluded employees is a “forever benefit” and it is PERSABLE, so it will count towards your retirement benefits. The $2,500 bonus that Rank and File just received does not.

In our recent January 19th meeting with CalHR, they confirmed that they will NOT be providing excluded employees with a one-time bonus, like that of SEIU Local 1000. During the meeting, ACSS heavily advocated on behalf of members for special salary adjustments to be passed on to excluded employees. CalHR’s response continues to be that final decisions have not yet been made and they will follow the administration’s directive to establish and maintain a 5% pay differential instead of the 10% that ACSS advocates as fair and equitable.

There is good news in the Governor’s proposed 2017 – 2018 budget. The budget adds $1.2 billion for increased employee compensation. It is anticipated that this will provide for General Salary Increases for excluded employees in July 2017, as per PML 2016-023. This is just the beginning of the budget process. Unlike bargaining, where rank and file agrees upon multi-year salary increases, excluded employees are excluded from bargaining, which means that they rely upon the budget each year to determine salary adjustments. The final approved budget bill is still a long way off and a lot can happen between now and the end of the fiscal year. ACSS will continue to monitor the budget process and advocate funding to provide excluded employees fair and equitable pay packages.

ACSS Lobby Day is on March 15th. We strongly encourage you to join us at Lobby Day and meet with legislators and educate them about the issues affecting excluded employees, like pay compaction. As news develops, ACSS will provide any updates in regards to pay increases and further discussion with CalHR.


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CalPERS Lowers Investment Funds Discount Rate

Posted: 12/21/2016 Tags: benefits policy retirement salary Tags Views: 870

On December 21, 2016, the CalPERS Board of Directors Investment Committee approved a reduction in the discount rate from 7.5% to 7.0% over a three-year phase. CalPERS financial consultants have been concerned about the current state of negative cash flow over the next 10 years. Lower returns in early years will diminish the compounding interest of later years. According to Reuters, “State and local governments could see their pension contributions rise by as much as $2 billion in five years. But for employees, the hit could be another percentage point or more in payroll deductions.” CalPERS views this reduction in the discount rate as a necessary way to improve its current situation.

This means that state employees will be paying more towards their retirement benefits in the long run as a direct result of the discounted rate. The state needs to protect the pensions. To cover that, state employees will end up having to pay more from their current paychecks towards their retirement benefits. At this point, we do not know exactly how much will come out of employee paychecks.

"This was a very difficult decision to make, but it is an important step to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Fund," said Rob Feckner, president of the CalPERS Board of Administration.

The new discount rate for the state will go into effect on July 1, 2017 at 7.375% and then be phased down incrementally to 7.25% for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-19 and the again phased down to 7.0% for FY 2019-20.

ACSS will continue to follow this issue closely and provide you with updates that affect excluded state employees.

>>Click here to read the full article from CalPERS.


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