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Open Enrollment for Health, Dental and Vision Begins September 10, 2018

Posted: 8/31/2018 Tags: benefits health policy Tags Views: 1324

Open Enrollment for health, dental and vision coverage starts September 10 and ends October 5. This is your opportunity to evaluate your health care selections and make any changes to your health or dental plans and add or drop dependents effective January 1, 2019.

CalHR just announced the amount of the 2019 Consolidated Benefits (CoBen) allowance to be used for health and dental benefits effective January 1, 2019. The CoBen Employer contribution for excluded employees has increased to $668 (Single)/$1293 (2-Party)/$1673 (Family). This new CoBen amount for supervisors, managers, and confidential employees is up to $50 higher per month than the state employer contribution for rank-and-file employees.

If you have received notification of a change in health plan availability, or if you would like to explore different health plan options, CalPERS has a tool that allows you to search plan availability and premium rates based on your zip code. Visit the CalPERS website here.

Some premiums are going up, while others are decreasing. To compare plan costs and calculate your exact out of pocket costs, or your CoBen cash back if your selections are lower than the CoBen Allowance, visit the CalHR Benefits Calculator and select “2019” and “Excluded Employee” before entering your options.

Be on the lookout for Open Enrollment forms from your department. If you are not making changes, no action is needed.


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All State Employees Begin Prefunding Retiree Health Care

Posted: 8/24/2018 Tags: budget legislation policy salary Tags Views: 5410

Your August paystub will likely reflect a deduction for something called CERBT. That stands for the California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust. Along with the General Salary Increases received by supervisors, managers and confidential employees on July 1, the budget includes provisions to begin prefunding retiree health care. While some excluded employees have already seen this contribution take effect, all state employees are now prefunding retiree healthcare.

Your contribution as a percentage of salary is matched with a state employer contribution. The purpose is to reduce the “unfunded liability” for retiree health care which has received substantial negative public and media attention and to ensure that your valuable earned health benefits will be available when you retire.

In July, CalHR announced that excluded and exempt employees not directly associated with a bargaining unit, e.g., E48, E97, E98, and E99, will begin prefunding 0.8% of their pensionable compensation to Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) effective with the August 2018 pay period.

ACSS compiled the following chart showing the legislatively approved contribution rates for OPEB and information provided by CalHR for exempt and excluded employees not related to a specific bargaining unit. OPEB Contribution rates:

OPEB Rates for EXCLUDED EMPLOYEES
AFFILIATED WITH BARGAINING UNIT
Effective August 2018:
 CERBT
 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15,
17, 20, 21 (SEIU Units)
 1.2%
 2  1.3%
 6  4% 
 7  2.7%
 8  3%
 9  1%
 10  1.4%
 12  2.5%
 13  2.6%
 16  1.4%
 17  1.2%
 18  2.6%
 19  2%
 Exempt and excluded employees
not directly tied to a BU
 0.8%

Details of the OPEB provisions are available here: http://hrmanual.calhr.ca.gov/Home/ManualItem/1/1422

Click here to read OBEB FAQ's from CalHR.


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Meet and Confer Leads to Changes for CDTFA Anti-Nepotism Corrective Action Plan Implementation

Posted: 8/17/2018 Tags: legislation policy representation Tags Views: 2293

When departments propose changes to policies impacting supervisors and managers, ACSS has the right under the law to Meet and Confer with the state over the new or revised policies and their impact on members. ACSS just concluded the Meet and Confer process with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) over a revised Anti-Nepotism Policy and the implementation of “Corrective Action Plans” to remediate identified personal or family relationships.

As a result of the meetings and ACSS’ requests, CDTFA has agreed to remove all Corrective Action Plans from supervisors and managers’ Official Personnel Files. CDTFA will also seek input from affected employees prior to taking a final action on a corrective plan, including a change in reporting structure or a geographic relocation. Supervisors or managers who currently have a corrective action plan may submit additional information for possible reconsideration of their corrective plan and will have the plan removed from their OPF.

We appreciate CDTFA’s willingness to implement these changes. Note that ACSS’ requests for changes were made after obtaining input from affected ACSS members. If you see an email from ACSS requesting input in connection with an upcoming Meet and Confer affecting you, please give us your thoughts. Your input can help shape ACSS’ position and protect your employment interests.


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New Overtime Compensation Policy in the CalHR Human Resources Manual

Posted: 7/26/2018 Tags: policy Tags Views: 1204

Some excluded state employees who are eligible for overtime may see an increase in their overtime compensation rate effective July 1, 2018. Federal law requires that employees receiving cash related to health benefits have that amount included in their overtime pay rate. This means that employees receiving the FlexElect Cash Option or receiving excess cash under the Consolidate Benefit Allowance Program (CoBen) will have these amounts included in their overtime rate of pay – slightly bumping up their overtime pay rates. This policy only applies to Work Week Group 2 employees. Click here to view the policy (Section 1713) in the online CalHR Human Resources Manual, updated on July 23, 2018.


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ACSS Meets With Caltrans to Discuss Pay and Benefits for Supervisors and Managers

Posted: 7/5/2018 Tags: legislation policy representation Tags Views: 1997

On June 12, 2018, ACSS President Frank Ruffino, ACSS Director of Representation Nellie Lynn, and ACSS Attorney Gerald James met with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Director Laurie Berman and key members of her executive team. Ruffino acknowledged Director Berman was taking the helm of the Department as Caltrans begins to deliver Senate Bill 1 projects around the state. ACSS was an early supporter of SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act, to help California rebuild and maintain our transportation system. In addition to investing in our transportation infrastructure, ACSS encouraged Caltrans to take action supporting appropriate pay and benefits for the supervisory and managerial employees who are helping to deliver these projects.

Director Berman has been with Caltrans for 35 years, holding various supervisory and managerial positions along the way. “Caltrans will continue to invest and provide training for our managers and staff as we deliver twice as many projects as before Senate Bill 1,” said Director Berman. “The department is hiring thousands of people over the next several years to meet the demand.”

ACSS is working collaboratively with Caltrans Labor Relations to identify and address salary concerns for supervisors and managers. We look forward to working with Director Berman on these issues. After the meeting, Ruffino mentioned, “Director Berman understands the important role that supervisors and managers play in project delivery. ACSS continues to appreciate a positive working relationship with Caltrans and to build on the relationship with Director Berman.”


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ACSS Unaffected by Supreme Court Janus v. AFSCME ruling on Fair Share Fees

Posted: 6/29/2018 Tags: legislation membership policy Tags Views: 1617

On the last day of the session, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Janus v. AFSCME. This long anticipated decision ruled that non-members of public sector unions cannot be charged “agency fees”, often referred to as fair share fees. In a 5 to 4 vote, the Court overruled a 41-year old decision that said non-members can be charged a fee to cover the cost of a union’s collective bargaining efforts.

While the decision will have broad implications nationwide, there is no immediate impact on ACSS. For rank-and-file public sector labor unions in California and throughout the country, there will be some big changes as they adapt. Impacted unions anticipated this decision since at least 2016 and have been working to educate employees about the value of membership and collective representation.


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General Salary Increases for Excluded Employees Effective July 1, 2018

Posted: 6/26/2018 Tags: budget legislation policy salary Tags Views: 5347

The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has informed ACSS of General Salary Increases (GSI) for state excluded employees effective July 1, 2018. As detailed below, excluded employees will receive the same percentage raises as the bargaining unit they are associated with.

Earlier this month ACSS President Frank Ruffino, ACSS Executive Director Rocco Paternoster, and ACSS Director of Representation Nellie Lynn met with CalHR Director Richard Gillihan to discuss issues affecting state excluded employees – including pay raises and retiree health benefits. Following the meeting and the announcement of salary increases, Director Gillihan shared the following with ACSS, “Managers and supervisors are the backbone of California state government. Their dedication ensures we are serving the public and safeguarding the state. I am pleased that the state is able to increase their salaries in recognition of the work they do.” Ruffino thanked the Director for his continued support of excluded employees.

Along with the General Salary Increases, the state budget includes provisions regarding state employee contributions for prefunding retiree healthcare. While some excluded employees already participate, all will soon see an employee contribution as a percentage of salary which is matched with a state employer contribution. The purpose is to reduce the “unfunded liability” for retiree health care which has received substantial negative public and media attention and to ensure that your valuable earned health benefits will be available when you retire. The deduction, expected to appear or adjust with your August pay warrant (received at the end of August/beginning of September), will show as CERBT – which stands for the California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust.

 EXCLUDED EMPLOYEES AFFILIATED
 WITH BARGAINING UNIT:
 GSI
 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21  4%
 6, 18  3%
 7, 13, 16  2% 
 10  5%
 12  3.5%
 19  2.5%

Exempt and Excluded Employees not directly tied to a bargaining unit (such as many employees who have an “E” Collective Bargaining Identifier) will receive a 4% GSI.

The official “Pay Letters” implementing the salary increases are expected to be released shortly after the Governor signs the State Budget later this week.


UPDATED 7/5/2018

Click here to view Pay Letter1815 for details on the General Salary Increases for Excluded Employees.


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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: 1657

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: 2126

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.

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Another Successful ACSS Lobby Day!



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On March 21, 2018, ACSS members marched into the Capitol and met with legislators to discuss important issues affecting managers, supervisors and confidential state employees. Lobby Day was a resounding success with 54 members in attendance. Thanks to the dedicated members who attended, our presence at the Capitol was visible and our voices were clearly heard! For 18 consecutive years, ACSS members have participated in Lobby Day to deliver the ACSS message in person to Assemblymembers and Senators. 

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