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Excluded Employee Compensation Plan for 2020-2021


The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has released the outline of the excluded employee pay plan for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. We are pleased that the outline contains most of the items ACSS has advocated for in light of the Administration’s mandated state employee compensation decreases due to the large state budget deficits related to the ongoing pandemic.

The exempt and excluded pay plan effective July 1, 2020 includes:

  • Two day-per month Personal Leave Program (PLP) reducing compensation by 9.23% and providing 16 hours of leave credit per month. The PLP credit will not need to be used in the month it is accrued, but taken before other paid leave (except sick leave).
  • Suspending employee payments to pre-fund retiree health care. The deduction is shown on your pay warrant as “OPEB/CERBT”. The deductions for employees related to units 12 and 13 will continue, but be offset by a pay differential.
  • General Salary Increases are suspended.
  • Special Salary Adjustments and Pay Differentials will be extended to exempt and excluded employees where appropriate.
  • All employees related to the nine SEIU Local 1000 bargaining units (1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21) will receive a $260 per month taxable cash benefit to offset health care costs.
  • The Vacation/Annual Leave Cap is increased by the amount of the PLP accrued for excluded employees related to bargaining units 2, 9, 10 and 19.

CalHR is working on pay letters to implement the details of the leave program and special salary and pay differential adjustments. CalHR expects to issue a series of pay letters “in the coming weeks” and has informed ACSS they are working with the State Controller’s Office to try to implement the majority of the salary adjustments in the July pay period.

As the pay letters are developed, ACSS will continue advocacy with CalHR to ensure excluded employees receive all appropriate special salary adjustments and pay differentials and will keep you informed regarding the expected timing of the pay adjustments.


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California Supreme Court Hears Argument in Local Pension Case

Posted: 5/5/2020 Tags: benefits legislation pension policy retirement Tags Views: 634

The California Supreme Court held oral argument on May 5, 2020 in Alameda County Deputy Sheriff's Association v. Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association. This is one of the two significant pension cases pending before the state high court concerning pension cuts for local public employees following the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA).

Although it is a local pension case, the legal issues argued may impact 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. ACSS joined in the requests for the high court to hear these types of pension cases to preserve the long-standing California Rule to protect from the possibility of your pension being changed by future legislation or through an initiative measure.

In Alameda, the Deputy Sheriff's union and others challenged the elimination of overtime pay, on-call pay, call-back pay, vacation and sick leave sold back, recruitment bonuses, and other items from pension calculations. The lower appellate court had ruled that many of these pension cuts for current employees were legal, but ruled some pension benefits required further review under the California Rule. Allowing the pension reductions for current employees is a significant deviation from the California Rule. Both sides had asked the high court to review the case.

At oral argument, the county retirement boards argued that including these “pension spiking” items in a pension calculation was never lawful and that employees had no reasonable expectation that they would be included in a pension calculation for future service. The unions argued that this deferred compensation cannot be changed for existing employees during their public employee careers.

It is unclear whether the Supreme Court’s decision in this case will be decided on broad constitutional grounds with possible impacts on the California Rule and implications for all public employees and their pensions, or will be decided on a narrow basis, affecting only the parties to the litigation or local employers and employees. The matter was taken under submission with a decision expected in the next month or two.

ACSS will continue to keep you apprised of important pension issues and inform you of actions taken to protect the interests of excluded state employees.


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Many Excluded Employees will see smaller paychecks as OPEB Deductions increase, ACSS takes action

Posted: 8/28/2019 Tags: benefits legislation policy retirement salary Tags Views: 3849

ACSS has been affirmatively taking action advocating for our members’ interests on OPEB deductions and General Salary Increases this year. As always, we represent the voice of Managers, Supervisors and Confidential State Employees and we strive to obtain fair wages and working conditions.

Although raises for many excluded employees were effective with last month’s pay warrants, the increased Other-Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) deductions will take effect with the August pay period. Your OPEB contribution is listed on your pay stub as “CERBT”, which stands for California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust.

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 to ensure that your valuable earned health benefits will be available when you retire.

The following chart showing the legislatively approved contribution rate increases for OPEB and CalHR approved increases for exempt and excluded employees not related to a specific bargaining unit:

OPEB INCREASES for EXCLUDED
EMPLOYEES Effective August 2019
 Percentage Increase
 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15,
17, 20, 21 (SEIU Units)
 1.1%
 2  0.7%
 6  N/A 
 7  1.3%
 8  1.4%
 9  1%
 10  1.4%
 12  1%
 13  1.3%
 16  N/A
 18  1.4%
 19  1%
 Exempt and excluded employees not
directly tied to a BU (E48, E97, E98, E99)
 0.8%

Not all excluded employee salaries increased on July 1, 2019. State Bargaining Units 2 and 18 have not reached new labor contracts. ACSS President Todd D’Braunstein has urged CalHR to provide a General Salary Increase to supervisors, managers and excluded employees related to these units. Click here to read President D’Braunstein’s letter to CalHR. ACSS has been proactive in the fight for fair and appropriate wages on behalf of these excluded employees.

Excluded employees related to state Bargaining Units 9 and 10, will also see a temporary one-half percent increase in the employee pension retirement contribution. The Unit 9 increase will be for this fiscal year only and the Unit 10 increase will be for two years. A one-half percent increase for excluded employees related to Unit 16 will take affect this paycheck and thereafter.

ACSS will continue to stand up for your rights while communicating and working with the Administration. As we receive new information, we will continue to keep you informed on these important issues.

>> Click here to read details of the OPEB provisions.

>> Click here to read OBEB FAQ's from CalHR.


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CalPERS Benefits Education Event in Costa Mesa - Aug. 9 and 10

Posted: 8/1/2019 Tags: benefits retirement Tags Views: 823

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) is hosting a two-day CalPERS Benefits Education Event (CBEE) in Costa Mesa to inform members in a 5-county area about programs and benefits available to them. This event will take place at the Hilton Orange County on Friday, August 9, and Saturday, August 10, 2019. The same program is offered on each day, so attendees can select the day they wish to attend.

Whether new to CalPERS, in mid-career, or close to retirement, CBEEs offer all CalPERS members a wealth of information about their retirement and health benefits, supplemental savings plans, long-term care coverage, and more. Representatives from CalPERS Regional Offices will be on hand to answer questions.

Open both Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the event features breakout sessions specific to both early through mid-career members, and those nearing retirement. Topics to be covered include CalPERS retirement benefits, CalPERS health benefits, and deferred compensation.

Click here for more information and to register for this event


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CalPERS Benefits Education Event in Garden Grove

Posted: 8/3/2018 Tags: events retirement Tags Views: 951

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) is hosting a two-day CalPERS Benefits Education Event (CBEE) in Garden Grove to inform members about programs and benefits available to them. This event will take place at the Hyatt Regency Orange County on Friday, August 24, and Saturday, August 25, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m..

Whether new to CalPERS, in mid-career, or close to retirement, CBEEs offer all CalPERS members a wealth of information about their retirement and health benefits, supplemental savings plans, long-term care coverage, and more. Representatives from CalPERS Regional Offices will be on hand to answer questions. The event features breakout sessions specific to both early through mid-career members, and those nearing retirement. Topics to be covered include CalPERS retirement benefits, CalPERS health benefits, and deferred compensation.

For more information and to register, visit CalPERS Benefits Education Events.


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CalPERS Update: Earnings and Health Benefit Plans

Posted: 7/19/2018 Tags: benefits pension retirement Tags Views: 1488

CalPERS has reported a preliminary 8.6 percent net investment return for the 12-month period that ended June 30, 2018. This is the second year in a row that earnings have exceeded the long-term assumed rate of return, which is 7.25% for the current fiscal year. With assets of more than $351 billion, CalPERS overall funded status rose three percentage points to an estimated 71 percent.

CalPERS has also concluded negotiations with health plan providers for 2019. Overall rates will increase 1.16 percent with members in Basic Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans seeing an average increase of 0.37 percent and members in Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans will see an overall average increase of 2.83 percent. While these are averages, some plans have significant increases (22.96% for Anthem HMO Traditional and 19.80% for PERSCare PPO) and some plans have significant decreases (-25.56% for PERSSelect PPO). Over the objections of ACSS and other state employee advocates, HealthNet will be leaving the Sacramento market in 2019 and Blue Shield Access+ will exit from eight Bay Area counties in 2019.

Because of the wide variances in rates and changes in plan availability, it will be particularly important to evaluate your options during this year's Open Enrollment period from September 10 to October 5.  CalHR will soon release the "CoBen Allowance" for 2019 which is the state employer contribution for health, dental and vision for the 2019 calendar year. Prior to Open Enrollment, CalHR will update the "Benefits Calculator" on the CalHR webpage which allows comparisons of out-of-pocket costs depending on health benefit selections. ACSS will provide the CoBen Allowance amount for 2019 and a link to the Benefits Calculator when it is available.


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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: 1672

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: 2138

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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CalPERS Benefits Education Event in Visalia - March 2 & 3

Posted: 2/9/2018 Tags: benefits retirement Tags Views: 1255

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) is hosting a two-day CalPERS Benefits Education Event (CBEE) in Visalia to inform members in an 10-county area about programs and benefits available to them. This event will take place at the Visalia Convention Center on Friday, March 2, and Saturday, March 3, 2018. The same program is offered on each day, so attendees can select the day they wish to attend.

Whether new to CalPERS, in mid-career, or close to retirement, CBEEs offer all CalPERS members a wealth of information about their retirement and health benefits, supplemental savings plans, long-term care coverage, and more. Representatives from CalPERS Regional Offices will be on hand to answer questions.

Open both Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the event features breakout sessions specific to both early through mid-career members, and those nearing retirement. Topics to be covered include CalPERS retirement benefits, CalPERS health benefits, and deferred compensation.

For more information and to register for this event, visit https://www.calpers.ca.gov/page/newsroom/calpers-news/2018/benefits-education-event-visalia.


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Cast Your VOTE! Miller Will Protect YOUR Pension.

Posted: 9/23/2017 Tags: benefits election pension retirement Tags Views: 1261

Hurry! Monday October 2 is the last day you can cast your vote in the CalPERS election. ACSS encourages you to support David Miller for CalPERS Board Member At Large, Position A. Miller is committed to putting the interests of CalPERS members first. Miller has spent 25 years as a union member, union leader and a founder of Californians for Retirement Security, the broad coalition formed in 2005 to fight against non-stop attacks on public employees and our pensions. With integrity and commitment, Miller will stand up to ensure the system is always there to provide retirement security for each and every employee and retiree.

Click here to vote online NOW! Miller needs YOUR support to help protect pensions and ensure the best interests for all excluded employees.


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