Hundreds of current and former state workers stand to receive millions of dollars in back wages they lost to furloughs.
The payments will go to staff forced to take unpaid time off between 2009 and 2011 while working for the California Lottery, First 5 California Commission, Prison Industry Authority, Earthquake Authority or state Housing Finance Agency.
The five groups employ a total of 1,500 workers.
The Prison Industry Authority, which employs 570, figures its payments will cost about $7.9 million. No other organization had cost estimates and none of the five yet knows how many past and present workers qualify for some money.
The payments "aren't going to happen overnight," said lottery spokesman Russ Lopez.
The agencies recently settled several furlough lawsuits with two unions in exchange for paying their members furlough back pay without interest. All five decided to extend back pay to all employees except a few dozen state scientists and engineers. They won't get the back wages because their unions refused to settle. The five agencies receive their money from sources outside the general fund, so the wage repayments won't aggravate the state's $9.2 billion deficit.