X
GO

NEWS

Articles for tag COVID-19


ACSS Seeks to Mitigate Impact of Employee Compensation Reduction Proposals

Posted: 5/22/2020 Tags: benefits COVID-19 legislation policy representation salary Tags Views: 1210

As the state budget moves forward in the next few weeks, it is very likely that excluded employee compensation reductions and a delay of anticipated salary increases will be part of the budget solutions.

While ACSS cannot collectively bargain over these proposed reductions, the Administration’s planned salary reductions cannot be achieved without legislative approval. ACSS is therefore taking active steps to mitigate the impact of reductions through the legislative process and with CalHR. Mitigating the reductions includes:

  • Avoid Straight Cuts in Pay 
    If salary has to be reduced, it should be through a temporary furlough or personal leave program that provides leave in exchange for the salary reduction and does not change salary ranges, nor negatively impact retirement calculations.

  • Flexibility in a Furlough Program 
    If excluded employees are furloughed, there must be flexibility for supervisors and managers to continue meeting the workload with reduced staff. ACSS is requesting that CalHR implement the program in a way that allows maximum flexibility for excluded employees by not requiring the leave be used in the same month it is accrued.

  • Suspend Employee Contributions to Pre-fund Retiree Health Care 
    Each month excluded employees have a deduction labeled “CERBT” which stands for California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust. This deduction is to pay the employee share of pre-funding retiree health care. Most ACSS members are scheduled to pay between 3.5 to 4.5 percent of salary per month. Suspending the payment for at least the duration of the salary reductions will mitigate the reduction in take home salary with no impact on eligibility for health care benefits in retirement.

  • Health Care Affordability Payment 
    SEIU Local 1000 negotiated a $260 per month payment for employees enrolled in a health plan. ACSS asked that this payment be provided to all excluded employees. The current proposal is to allow the $260 per month payment to go forward July 1, 2020 for both SEIU rank-and-file employees and related excluded employees.

    For some ACSS members, suspending the retiree health care deduction and providing the $260 per month would almost completely offset the salary reduction of a two-day furlough. For others, getting one or both would partially offset the temporary salary reduction.

  • Federal Trigger Language 
    The Administration is proposing that the salary reduction authority would end if federal money is received. While this is positive, the details have not been developed. ACSS will push for language to directly address the impact of federal funding on excluded employees.

  • Salary Adjustments 
    Most ACSS members were scheduled for general salary increases and thousands anticipated special salary adjustments (SSA) July 1, 2020. The Administration is proposing no increases. While the treatment of delaying these raises will certainly be impacted by rank-and-file bargaining, it needs to be acknowledged that SSAs were planned to address recruitment and retention issues. Delaying these increases, and exacerbating recruitment and retention problems by cutting pay, will almost certainly lead to more attrition through retirement. The SSAs need to be paid as soon as possible to address likely retention issues.

ACSS is aware that other groups have proposed retirement incentives as a cost saving measure and that nothing in the Administration’s current proposals address incentives for those excluded employees providing front line COVID-19 response. If there is room to advocate on these issues, ACSS will do so through the state budget deliberative process and with CalHR.

We will keep you apprised as these significant budget decisions and proposed reductions move forward.


Comments 0 Comments

CA Budget Deficit a Direct Result of Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted: 5/18/2020 Tags: budget COVID-19 salary Tags Views: 499

Governor Gavin Newsom appeared on “State of the Union”, a televised CNN program, on Sunday to discuss the COVID-19 Pandemic and the effect on the California economy. During the interview, Governor Newsom said that “the nearly $54 billion budget deficit the state is facing is a direct result of the impact from the coronavirus pandemic and not because of existing financial troubles.”

In January, Newsom projected a surplus after paying off 100% of inherited debts and pay down long-term financial obligations. However, last week Newsom revealed a revised budget deficit of $54 billion, affecting state worker’s salaries and many other state-funded programs.

Newsom, along with other western states, has asked Congress to send more financial aid to state governments. “We are not looking for charity. … It is incumbent upon the federal government to help support these states through difficult times.

Click here to read the full CNN article.


Comments 0 Comments

State Budget Deficit Leads to Employee Compensation Reduction Proposals as Part of the May Revise

Posted: 5/14/2020 Tags: budget COVID-19 legislation pension policy salary Tags Views: 7446

In response to a state revenue reduction of over 30 percent, the Administration is proposing a number of costs savings measures including reductions in employee compensation of 10% from June 2020 levels and proposed reductions in state operations costs (office space, leases, travel, and procurement).

The plans were outlined to labor representatives yesterday in connection with today’s release of the Governor’s “May Revision” to the state budget proposal. CalHR Director Eraina Ortega and Deputy Director Paul Starkey held a call this morning with ACSS Executive Director Rocco Paternoster and ACSS attorney Gerald James to discuss the proposals and impacts for excluded employees.

As part of the budget process, the Administration is seeking to “pull back” all salary increases (general salary increases and special salary adjustments) scheduled for July 1, 2020 for excluded employees and rank-and-file employees. They will also seek authority to reduce employee compensation by 10% effective July 1, 2020.

CalHR will attempt to negotiate the 10% reductions with each rank-and-file bargaining unit. If agreements cannot be reached with those units, the authority sought from the Legislature would allow CalHR to impose two days of unpaid furloughs per month, which would result in a 9.24% salary reduction, on state employees effective July 1, 2020. As of this morning, CalHR intends to link employee compensation reductions for supervisors and managers with their related bargaining units.

To mitigate the impact of any compensation reductions, the state is also considering a pause on state employees paying to prefund retiree healthcare. If passed by the Legislature, relief from excluded employees paying this “OPEB” contribution would range from 4.6% of salary to 1.4% of salary (for the highest paid state employees). ACSS realizes this does not come near offsetting the proposed reduction in take home pay, but it is a helpful mitigating step.

The proposed reductions are based on current economic projections from the Administration. The Legislature makes its own economic projections. The budget authority sought by the Administration will include a provision that if additional federal funding is received (related to the pandemic), these employee compensation reductions can be revisited.

While the employee compensation reduction plan will likely be impacted by bargaining conducted by the rank-and-file bargaining units, ACSS has already begun discussions with CalHR over the details related to excluded employees. ACSS will also seek to ensure that the authority to reduce compensation provided by the Legislature to CalHR is done in a manner that protects the interests of excluded employees as best as possible by ensuing compensation decreases are equitable. We will keep you apprised as these significant budget decisions and proposed reductions move forward.


Comments 2 Comments

Department of Finance Implements Cost Savings Measures – Leave Buy Back Cancelled

Posted: 5/1/2020 Tags: COVID-19 legislation policy Tags Views: 716

In response to decreased state revenue and increased costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Finance issued a Budget Letter on April 30, 2020 calling for current fiscal year expenditure reductions. Effective immediately, the Budget Letter requires state agencies and departments to take the following actions:

  • Leave Buy-Back — Cancellation of the annual leave buy back of accumulated vacation or annual leave in 2019-20
  • New Goods and Services Contracts — Bans purchases or service contracts unless they directly support teleworking strategies or respond to COVID-19 (including PPE and hand sanitizer), or meet other time-sensitive critical needs
  • Travel — Continues the non-essential travel ban for in state and out-of-state travel
  • Hiring — Advises departments to use discretion when filling vacancies to maintain flexibility in an environment of severely constrained resources

We know many ACSS members count on leave-cash out to reduce leave balances below the cap and provide additional income. While it is extremely disappointing the program will not be offered this year, especially for those working long hours responding to the pandemic, the Administration has complete discretion in authorizing the program on an annual basis.

In mid-May, the Governor will unveil his “May Revise” to the proposed state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020. While the Governor has already indicated the revision to the budget will not match the blueprint he laid out in January, it will be the first glimpse at how the Governor intends to address declining state revenues and unanticipated costs.

With state tax filings and revenues delayed through July 15, significant financial uncertainty will remain. Even though a state budget will be adopted prior to the July 1 start of the fiscal year, the Governor and Legislature are likely to continue state budget deliberations and actions beyond this date.

Through all of these state budget deliberations, ACSS will continue to advocate for equitable salaries and benefits for excluded employees with CalHR and to lobby the Legislature to protect your employment interests.


Comments 0 Comments

CalTrans Provides Reimbursement for Face Masks

Posted: 4/16/2020 Tags: COVID-19 policy Tags Views: 333

The Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has notified the Association of California State Supervisors (ACSS) that it is issuing a new policy, (Face Covering Compensation, TIP 20-05) that will allow excluded employees deemed essential to receive reimbursement for the purchase of a cloth based face-coverings.

This is a one-time reimbursement reimbursable through a Travel Expense Claim (TEC) form FA-0302. Reimbursements for amounts of $5.00 or less do not require a receipt. For claims greater than $5.00 a receipt will be required. A maximum reimbursement amount has been set at $10.00.

If you have any questions or concerns with regards to this policy please reach out to ACSS Member Outreach Coordinator Charlotte Hoar at choar@acss.org.


Comments 0 Comments

CalHR Revises State Policy to Exempt Health Care Providers and Emergency Responders from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Posted: 4/13/2020 Tags: COVID-19 Tags Views: 1419

The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has revised the state policy implementing the federal government’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The federal act allows exemptions for broadly defined categories of health care providers and emergency responders.

Although the initial policy issued by CalHR on April 1, 2020 did not exempt any state employees, the revised policy announced on April 11 provides that because health care providers and emergency responders are critical to the operations of state departments, the state will exempt certain classifications of employees from being eligible for the federal act’s additional emergency sick leave and family care leave provisions.

The state will allow exemptions of employees in classifications meeting the federal Department of Labor definitions which include, among others, health care providers and those needed to provide comfort and nutrition of patients, law enforcement, firefighters, correctional institution personnel, emergency management personnel, child welfare workers, and public works personnel.

State departments with employees meeting the federal definitions are to send their exemptions to CalHR. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Department of State Hospitals, Department of Parks and Recreation and California Highway Patrol have already sent hundreds of classifications to CalHR. More exemption requests from other state departments are expected as this policy is implemented. CalHR will maintain a list of classifications exempted from the additional emergency sick leave and family care leave on the CalHR website.

While it is not surprising that the state has modified the policy to reflect the crucial role of these state employees in providing the state’s pandemic response, this front line role deserves to be recognized equitably through additional compensation or time off when the situation allows. ACSS will request CalHR provide additional compensation or time off.

As the CalHR memo states, although not eligible for the additional Covid-19 related emergency sick leave or family leave, employees may still be eligible for ATO or other leave under CalHR’s previous guidance.

Click here to review the revised CalHR Families First Coronavirus Response Act Policy.

Click here to go directly to the CalHR list of classifications exempted from the FFCRA by Department.


Comments 0 Comments

CalHR Implements the “Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act” Emergency Sick Leave and FMLA Provisions

Posted: 4/1/2020 Tags: COVID-19 Tags Views: 2225

The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has issued a policy implementing the federal government’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The policy reflects an employee’s right to up to 80 hours of additional emergency sick leave related to COVID-19 and up to 12 weeks of leave to provide care for a child whose school or daycare is closed because of COVID-19.

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act is effective April 1, 2020 and provides up to two weeks of emergency paid sick leave to be used under certain criteria including being subject to a quarantine or isolation order, advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, having symptoms and seeking a COVID-19 diagnosis, caring for another who is quarantined, or caring for a child whose school or daycare is closed. CalHR has confirmed to ACSS that this emergency sick leave is in addition to an employee’s regular sick leave or annual leave balance.

Also effective April 1, 2020, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act allows up to 12 workweeks of leave to provide care for a child whose school or daycare is closed because of COVID-19. The first two weeks are unpaid (although the sick leave mentioned above may be used for this time). Weeks 3 through 12 are paid at 2/3 of salary, up to $200 per day, which may be supplemented with leave credits.

Agencies and Departments are expected to release this information and specific instructions on requesting and using these new leave provisions.

Click here to download the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (2127) Section on the CalHR website.

Click here to download CalHR’s April 6, 2020 FAQs – Families First Coronavirus Act.


Comments 0 Comments

Governor Newsom Issues Executive Order Extending Certain Deadlines to Mitigate COVID-19

Posted: 3/31/2020 Tags: COVID-19 Tags Views: 636

Late on March 30, 2020, Governor Newsom issued an emergency Executive Order waiving strict compliance with 21 various statutory or regulatory deadlines on the basis that complying with those deadlines would prevent mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Included among the actions is a 60 day extension of the training deadlines for state managers, supervisors and CEAs found at Government Code section 19995.4. The order also extends state agency rulemaking deadlines and certain provisions related to state employee discipline and appeals from discipline. The Executive Order allows the Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs to temporarily waive many continuing education requirements and regulations.

The Executive Order delays the move of the Division of Juvenile Justice from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to the Health and Human Services Agency for one year. The move and establishment of the new Department of Youth and Community Restoration is now scheduled for July 1, 2021.

ACSS will continue to keep you apprised of impacts to your working conditions and will meet with CalHR and departments as necessary to protect your employment interests.

Click here to download Executive Order N-40-20.


Comments 0 Comments

ACSS President's Message on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted: 3/24/2020 Tags: COVID-19 Tags Views: 360

ACSS Members,

As the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic continues to worsen, I wanted to share with you how we at the Association of California State Supervisors (“ACSS”) have initially addressed the situation in an effort to continue to aggressively represent the supervisors and managers of the State of California. You are the vital infrastructure of the State and will play a large roll in the solutions that will help all of us get through this crisis.

ACSS senior Staff and I have taken part in several conference calls with the Governors Office and continue to work with the administration toward effective and safe solutions. ACSS Executive Director, Rocco Paternoster has also had discussions with the Attorney General, Xavier Becerra and The heads of CalHR and other Department heads related to how Covid-19 is impacting the vital services of the state and the hard work of our ACSS members and other State Employees.

We are optimistic that we can maintain member services for all ACSS members and continue to advise and represent ACSS members daily.

While your local HR department is the recommended source for all information related to your job and any changes your department may implement, we want you to know that ACSS remains available for consultation to our members. We are making every effort to keep our membership informed on any updates or changes to policy or directives from the State. ACSS has increased our electronic communications and are keeping our website updated with the latest information on the State’s response to this pandemic. We are also providing links to information issued by the State.

While we know that ACSS Members are the resilient leaders that keep the State going during times of crisis, I wanted to send my personal appreciation for what you are doing during these times. Working together we will all get through this.

Sincerely,
Todd D'Braunstein
ACSS President


Comments 0 Comments

CalHR Issues COVID-19 Guidance to State Departments and Employees

Posted: 3/18/2020 Tags: COVID-19 Tags Views: 856

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, CalHR issued updated guidance and direction regarding state workers on March 18, 2020. While you will also likely hear about these directions in the media, we encourage you to be on the lookout for specific direction from your employer. Please know that ACSS is actively involved in discussions with decision makers and departments to protect your interests as the state’s response to the pandemic evolves.

CalHR has directed that departments establish a staff management plan that allows effective social distancing for those in the office and takes into consideration stay-at-home directives from state and local public health departments.

Departments must determine which critical employees cannot telework and establish a telework schedule for all other employees eligible to telework. If job duties are not critical and not viable for telework, employees may be redirected. As a last resort, if not eligible for telework or redirection, Administrative Time Off will be provided (regardless of leave balances).

ACSS will continue to represent members collectively and individually as needed relative to any COVID-19 related impact on ACSS members’ jobs. If you need assistance after obtaining information or direction from your HR office or manager, please reach out to your ACSS Labor Representative.

As this situation remains fluid, ACSS will continue to provide relevant updates.

Click here to download CalHR Guidance to State Departments.

Click here to download a letter from CalHR Director Eraina Ortega to State Workers in regards to COVID-19.


Comments 0 Comments

1 2