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May Revision of the 2022 – 2023 State Budget: Historic Surplus Directed to One-time Projects

Posted: 5/16/2022 Tags: budget legislation legislature policy salary Tags Views: 459

Governor Newsom released his May Revise of the state budget on May 13, 2022. The budget includes a projected record $97.5 billion surplus, including $49.2 billion in discretionary surplus. The Governor’s plan would spend 94 percent of this discretionary surplus on one-time projects. The historic $300.6 billion budget ($227.3 billion general fund) includes $37.1 billion in reserves, with $23.3 billion in the state’s rainy day fund.

The budget proposal contains a few highlights of importance to ACSS members:

  • The May Revision adds another $217.6 million in new employee compensation to reflect updated estimates for salary increases, updated estimates for the state employer’s health and dental costs, telework stipends, and recruitment and retention differentials for the CDCR Division of Juvenile Justice
  • This addition brings the new employee compensation number to nearly $1 billion to fund salary increases, health care costs for active state employees, and retiree health care prefunding for active employees
  • The proposed budget includes a $3.4 billion additional one-time supplemental payment to CalPERS for state plans (to pay down liabilities and save state employer pension costs)
  • The Rainy Day Fund is at the constitutional maximum of 10 percent of General Fund Revenues

The updated budget proposal kicks off legislative deliberation over the budget plan with a June 15 deadline for the legislature to send a budget to the Governor. Six of the state’s 21 rank-and-file bargaining units are negotiating for new labor contracts to be effective in July 2022. ACSS will continue discussions over the next few weeks with CalHR over excluded employee pay increases and will use the opportunity created by the historic budget surplus to urge CalHR to address long-standing pay and benefit issues for supervisory and managerial employees. We will keep you apprised as the excluded pay plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022 comes into focus.

The May Revision summary can be found here: Budget Summary (ca.gov)


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Leave Buy-Back Program Authorized for Excluded Employees

Posted: 4/27/2022 Tags: benefits leave legislation policy representation salary Tags Views: 829

CalHR and the Department of Finance have authorized the Excluded Employee Leave Buy-Back Program for 2021-2022. Employees designated Exempt, Supervisory, Managerial or Confidential may elect to be paid at their regular salary rate in exchange for up to 80 hours of unused leave (vacation or annual leave, voluntary personal leave, personal holiday or holiday credit). Excluded employees related to bargaining unit 2 (attorneys and administrative law judges) may cash out up to 160 hours of leave. Note that Personal Leave Program 2020 leave (or prior PLP leave) may not be cashed out. Payment is out of existing appropriations, so each department’s participation is subject to the availability of departmental funds.

No later than May 1, 2022, your department should notify you whether the department has funds to participate and how much leave that you will be able to cash out. The notification will include a deadline to submit your request to cash out leave. Departments may issue payments as early as May, but no later than June 30, 2022.

ACSS members are encouraged to evaluate their accrued leave status and consider cashing out leave as part of an overall strategy to remain compliant with leave caps.

Click here to view the CalHR policy manual covering leave buy-back.

If you have questions regarding leave buy-back program issues, please contact your ACSS Labor Relations Representative.


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2022-23 Proposed State Budget: Focus on One-time Investments

Posted: 1/11/2022 Tags: budget legislation policy politics salary Tags Views: 1062

On January 10, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed 2022-2023 State Budget that will fund state government for the 12-month period starting July 1, 2022.

State spending next fiscal year would increase by 9.1 percent to just over $286.4 billion, with $213.1 billion in general fund spending. The Governor projects a $45.7 billion surplus, which includes $20.6 billion in the general fund available for discretionary purposes. This $20.6 billion projection is far more conservative than the Legislative Analyst’s Office projection of $31 billion. The proposed budget allocates 86 percent of the discretionary surplus to one-time investments.

Regarding state employee compensation, the Governor’s budget proposal summary states:
The Budget includes $770.5 million ($377.8 million General Fund) for increased employee compensation, health care costs for active state employees, and retiree health care prefunding contributions for active employees.

This employee compensation number is expected to increase as six of the state’s 21 bargaining units will be in bargaining for new labor contracts. As those rank-and-file groups engage in bargaining, ACSS will make proposals to CalHR for related excluded employees.

Other proposed budget items of interest include:

  • In addition to the $8.4 billion state employer contribution to CalPERS for state pension costs, a supplemental $3.5 billion pay down of retirement liabilities at CalPERS
  • An additional $365 million in one-time funding to prefund retiree healthcare
  • $20.9 billion in the Rainy Day Fund and $3.1 billion in operating reserves
  • Funding to modernize the state’s payroll system (expected to be implemented in a few years)
  • With continued use of telework, over the next three years the Department of General Services is projecting a 20-percent overall reduction in the state’s leased office space

In his remarks, the Governor stated he is working with the Legislature on the issue of supplemental paid sick leave for employees. The prior availability of 80-hours of COVID-19 supplemental sick leave expired in September 2021.

As the proposed state budget progresses, ACSS will continue to meet with CalHR to advocate for supervisory and managerial employees.

The Governor’s complete budget summary can be found here: Budget Summary (ca.gov)


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ACSS Eliminates Salary Compaction in Three Classes by Urging CalHR to Increase Excluded Employee Salaries at CDPH

Posted: 11/23/2021 Tags: benefits compaction salary Tags Views: 1539

Because of a unique bargaining unit alignment, salaries for excluded employees in the Health Facilities Evaluator series at the California Department of Public Health were not keeping pace with their rank-and-file nursing subordinates. In response, ACSS made a salary proposal to CalHR to resolve the on-going salary compaction issues with the rank-and-file Health Facilities Evaluator Nurse classification.

ACSS met with CalHR several times to discuss the salary proposal and potential realignment from the current “S01” collective bargaining identifier for the excluded classifications in the series to the more appropriate nursing designation of “S17”.

On November 12, 2021, CalHR issued Pay Letter 21-29 which increases salaries retroactive to July 1, 2021 for the Heath Facilities Evaluator II (Supervisor), Health Facilities Evaluator Manager I, and Health Facilities Evaluator Manager II classifications. With these Special Salary Adjustments, the top step salary of each excluded employee classification in the series now has a separation of 5 percent over the subordinate class.

We are pleased CalHR took action to address this salary compaction. There is more work to do to correct other salary inequities for supervisors and managers. ACSS will continue to meet regularly with CalHR in connection with ACSS’ pending salary and benefit proposals to resolve salary compaction for ACSS members.


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Vacancies Filled and Issues Discussed at ACSS Board Meeting in Sacramento

Posted: 9/29/2021 Tags: Board Meeting compaction meeting policy salary Tags Views: 617

On September 11, 2021, ACSS held an in-person Board of Directors meeting in at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento. The first order of business was to fill two vacancies on the ACSS Board of Directors, and a vacancy for a Chapter President. Amal Kattan-Handal was Nominated by Chapter 503 President Jim Teahan and confirmed as the new Board Member for Chapter 503 (Sacramento area). Bret Blaydes was confirmed as the new Board Member for Chapter 509 (Southern Central Valley area). Nicole Stewart was confirmed as President of Chapter 507 (South Bay Area and Monterey). ACSS President Todd D’Braunstein swore in the new Board Members and Chapter Officer by reciting the Oath of Office.

The Board of Directors reviewed information from the PAC/Legislative Committee, the President’s Forum, and other Association business. They discussed the new roll out of virtual Chapter Zoom meetings as a new method of communication. So far, three virtual Chapter meetings have successfully occurred and ACSS plans to continue scheduling virtual meetings as an effective way to conduct Chapter business.

ACSS Assistant Director of Representation Gerald James discussed the many achievements and efforts of the Representation Program that have helped ACSS Members. Throughout the pandemic, ACSS has continued to meet with CalHR to review many long-standing salary inequity issues, address salary compaction and to provide salary proposals and supporting information to CalHR. In spring of 2021, ACSS fought for Special Salary Adjustments (SSA) for excluded employees related to Bargaining Unit 19 (Health and Social Services/Professionals) while Unit 19 was at the bargaining table. Because of ACSS’ advocacy on behalf of supervisors and managers, some classes will receive an 8% SSA, which is the highest salary adjustment for classes related to Unit 19.

Gerald James also talked about the end of the Personal Leave Program salary reductions, which ACSS heavily advocated for and puts more money back into the pockets of ACSS members. Contrary to previous practices and at ACSS’ request, CalHR confirmed the end of the PLP Program and confirmed salary increases for excluded employees in writing to ACSS in mid-June 2021, before official “Pay Letters” went out. In prior years excluded employees had to wait for the state budget to be signed and the pay letters to issue in mid-July. This is proof that CalHR Director Eraina Ortega and Chief Deputy of Labor Relations Paul Starkey are willing to listen to ACSS and to change the status quo for the benefit of ACSS Members. There is still much work to do, but the relationship between CalHR and ACSS will ensure the long-standing issues are fairly evaluated and resolved for the benefit of ACSS Members.

Salary compaction issues remain in many classifications and ACSS continues to fight for equitable pay on behalf of ACSS Members. Among the ACSS proposals being evaluated by CalHR, the most egregious salary compaction classes in need of resolving are within the CDPH Health Facilities Evaluator Classes, Food Service Supervisors, and the Program Director, Program Assistant and Unit Supervisors classes at the Department of State Hospitals and California Correctional Health Care Services.

ACSS continues to fight for special salary adjustment increases for Right-of-Way Agents, Transportation Planners, and Environmental Planners at Caltrans. In addition, we are advocating for safety retirement for Nursing Consultants and reorganizing classifications for Department of Developmental Services for Peace Officers.

Talks between ACSS and CalHR include the teleworking policies and related stipends and vaccine mandates and testing. ACSS and CalHR meet on a quarterly basis and as needed between those standing meetings to discuss and resolve issues that affect ACSS Members. As always, ACSS will keep you informed on policy changes and important issues that affect our Members and all excluded employees.


Bret Blaydes (Chapter 509 Board Member) with ACSS President Todd D'Braunstein.


Amal Kattan-Handal (Chapter 503 Board Member) with ACSS President Todd D'Braunstein.


Nicole Stewart (Chapter 507 President) with ACSS President Todd D'Braunstein.


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Now that we Prevailed in the Recall, Vote in the CalPERS Election!

Posted: 9/16/2021 Tags: benefits election salary Tags Views: 421

Governor Newsom has prevailed against the recall efforts, and by a record margin. While a small number of ballots are still being tabulated, it was clear almost immediately after polls closed that the Californian voters overwhelmingly supported the Governor and soundly rejected the recall effort.

Pleased with the results, ACSS President Todd D’Braunstein said, “I want to thank all ACSS members who participated in the special election and supported Governor Newsom against the recall. Opposing the recall is an important step in keeping Californians safe against the spread of coronavirus and protecting the rights of workers. In continuing with protecting your overall benefits and retirement, don’t forget to participate in the ongoing CalPERS election.”

In the CalPERS Member-at-Large Election, ACSS supports candidates David Miller and Jose Luis Pacheco for Seat A and Seat B, respectively. ACSS believes these candidates will work hard to protect your pension and ensure you receive your rightful retirement benefits with security and dignity. We encourage you to participate in the CalPERS Member-at-Large election by turning in your ballot before September 27, 2021. To learn more about the CalPERS election, click here.


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CalHR Issues Pay Letters Ending the PLP 2020 Reduction and Implementing Salary Increases

Posted: 7/9/2021 Tags: benefits budget legislation policy representation salary Tags Views: 2470

This week CalHR issued two pay letters impacting excluded employees. Pay Letter 21-18 ends the pay reductions (generally 9.23%) from the Personal Leave Program 2020. Pay Letter 21-19 increases salaries for most excluded employees through General Salary Increases and includes a number of Special Salary Adjustments. The State Controller’s Office is implementing these changes with the July 2021 pay period warrants.

All excluded employees are receiving the same General Salary Increases as related rank-and-file employees and from ACSS’ initial review, it appears all Special Salary Adjustments have been passed along to related supervisors and managers.

ACSS awaits a pay letter for the July 1, 2021 General Salary Increase (5.06%) and Special Salary Adjustments for S19 and M19 employees. ACSS will keep impacted employees apprised of the expected timing of these salary adjustments.

CalHR has informed ACSS that the resumption of the “OPEB/CERBT” employee contribution is now expected to also take effect with the July pay warrant. This employee contribution to prefund retiree health care benefits was suspended during the PLP 2020 pay reductions with the state picking up the employees’ portion. The employee contributions generally range from 2 percent to 4.6 percent of salary.

With salaries restored, ACSS now looks forward to working in earnest with CalHR and impacted departments to address a number of supervisory and managerial pay and classification issues.

Pay Letter 21-18 ending the PLP 2020 reductions can be read here.

The portions of Pay Letter 21-19 affecting excluded employees can be read here. (page 14 through 45.)

If you have questions about the salary increases or the prefunding of retiree healthcare, please contact your ACSS Labor Relations Representative.


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ACSS Meets with CalHR: PLP 2020 to End, Excluded Employee Salary Increases July 1, 2021

Posted: 6/16/2021 Tags: bargaining benefits budget policy salary Tags Views: 5612

ACSS met with the Department of Human Resources (CalHR) on June 15, 2021 to discuss pay and benefits for the state’s supervisory, managerial, confidential and exempt employees.

Excluded Employee Pay Plan for 2021-2022

CalHR has confirmed to ACSS that the Personal Leave Program (PLP) salary reductions of 9.23% will end effective June 30, 2021. Full salaries will be restored for all excluded employees and accrual of PLP days will end. CalHR has also confirmed that generally, excluded employees will receive the same percentage salary increases as the bargaining unit to which they are affiliated.

The Exempt and Excluded Employee Pay Plan includes:

  • An end to the Personal Leave Program salary reduction of 9.23%
  • General Salary Increases effective July 1, 2021:

    EXCLUDED EMPLOYEES AFFILIATED WITH BARGAINING UNIT: GSI
    1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21 (SEIU Units)  4.55%
    2 (+1.33% additional salary adjustment for all)  4.04%
     5  4.90%
     6  5.58%
     7  5.06%
     9  5.58%
     10  7.63%
     12  5.06%
     13  5.83%
     16  5.06%
     18  5.58%
     19*  5.06%
  • Special Salary Adjustments and Pay Differentials will be extended to exempt and excluded employees where appropriate.
  • Employees will resume the “OPEB” contribution to pre-fund retiree health care (the amount varies from 1.4% to 4.6% of salary). The deduction is expected to resume with the August 2021 pay warrant.
  • All exempt and excluded employees associated with the SEIU bargaining units will continue to receive the $260 taxable cash benefit (health affordability payment) through June 30, 2022.

Exempt and Excluded Employees not directly tied to a bargaining unit (such as many employees who have an “E” Collective Bargaining Identifier) are expected to receive the 4.55% GSI.

CalHR is working on the “Pay Letters” and expects the salary adjustments to be reflected in the July pay warrants. As the pay letters are developed, ACSS will continue advocacy with CalHR to ensure excluded employees receive all appropriate special salary adjustments.

Negotiations between CalHR and the representatives for rank-and-file bargaining unis 8, 10 and 19 for new labor contracts continue. ACSS has proposed that any increases in those MOUs also be provided to related excluded employees.

Other Salary and Benefit Advocacy for ACSS Members Continues

At the June 15, 2021 meeting, CalHR and ACSS continued the discussion of salary inequities and classification issues for excluded employees.

CalHR has again committed to providing substantive responses to many ACSS proposals including:

  • Allocating Nursing Consultant, Program Review employees to State Safety Retirement
  • Salary inequity adjustments for Program Directors, Program Assistants, and Unit Supervisors
  • Salary inequity adjustments for excluded Environmental Planners, Transportation Planners and Right-of-Way Agents
  • Reclassification and salary adjustments for the excluded employees in the Health Facility Evaluator Series
  • Salary inequity adjustments for the Food Service Supervisor excluded classes for fiscal year 2020-2021.

ACSS will continue to keep impacted members apprised of the status of potential increases to pay and benefits.

* BU 19 UPDATED as of 7/1/2021


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May Revision of the 2021 – 2022 State Budget: End of Pay Reductions and Deferrals

Posted: 5/14/2021 Tags: budget legislation legislature policy salary Tags Views: 3844

Governor Newsom released his May Revise of the state budget on May 14, 2021. The budget includes a projected $75.7 billion surplus. The historic $267.8 billion budget ($196.8 billion general fund) includes $24.4 billion in reserves, with $15.9 billion in the state’s rainy day fund.

In his budget summary, the Governor notes that last year state employees “stepped up at a time of uncertainty” by deferring scheduled pay increases and pay reductions through the Personal Leave Program. Although the Governor notes long-term financial risk remains high, the higher-than-anticipated tax revenue and additional federal funds have drastically improved the near-term picture. With that backdrop, the budget proposal contains a few highlights of importance to ACSS members:

  • Instructs CalHR to discuss the end of the Personal Leave Program 2020 program AND an end to deferring scheduled pay increases
  • Includes a $1.5 billion additional one-time supplemental payment to CalPERS for state plans (to pay down liabilities and save state employer pension costs)
  • Includes a one-time $616 million payment to keep on pace to pre-fund retiree health benefits (which makes up for the employee contribution which was suspended this fiscal year to mitigate the PLP pay reduction )

The updated budget proposal kicks off legislative deliberation over the budget plan with a June 15 deadline for the legislature to send a budget to the Governor. It also kicks off discussions and collective bargaining with CalHR over ending the PLP 2020 program and ending the deferral of salary increases which many ACSS members were slated to receive July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021.

ACSS will continue our discussions over the next few weeks with CalHR over excluded employee pay increases and will use the opportunity created by the budget surplus to address long-standing pay and benefit issues. We will keep you apprised as the excluded pay plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021 comes into focus.

The Governor’s complete budget summary can be found here:

Budget Summary (ca.gov)


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Leave Buy-Back Program Authorized for Excluded Employees

Posted: 4/20/2021 Tags: benefits legislation policy representation salary Tags Views: 2838

CalHR and the Department of Finance have authorized the Excluded Employee Leave Buy-Back Program for 2020-2021. Employees designated Exempt, Supervisory, Managerial or Confidential may elect to be paid at their regular salary rate in exchange for up to 80 hours of unused leave (vacation or annual leave, voluntary personal leave, personal holiday or holiday credit). Note that Personal Leave Program 2020 leave (or prior PLP leave) may not be cashed out. Payment is out of existing appropriations, so each department’s participation is subject to the availability of departmental funds.

No later than May 1, 2021, your department should notify you whether the department has funds to participate and how much leave (up to 80 hours) that you will be able to cash out. The notification will include a deadline to submit your request to cash out leave. Departments may issue payments as early as May, but no later than June 30, 2021.

Authorization of the leave buy-back program is welcome news and reflective of the vastly improved state budget situation over last year’s pandemic related budget predictions. ACSS members are encouraged to evaluate their accrued leave status and consider cashing out leave as part of an overall strategy to remain compliant with leave caps.

Click here to view the CalHR policy manual covering leave buy-back.

If you have questions regarding leave buy-back program issues, please contact your ACSS Labor Relations Representative.


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