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Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

RenŽe C. Byer / The Sacramento Bee

Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor holds a press conference reviewing Gov. Jerry Brown's budget on Jan. 14, 2013 in Sacramento, California.

The State Workers’ Top 10: Furloughs affect leave cash outs

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014 - 10:47 am

The numbers in a March report confirmed what common sense inferred: Furloughing state workers carried hidden long-term costs.

According to Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, furloughs cut state payroll costs by about $5 billion since the policy first took hold in fiscal 2008-09. But since state workers on furlough didn’t take as much paid leave time as they otherwise would, their leave balances grew at a quicker clip.

"Probably nearly $1 billion of these furlough savings was not long-term savings," the LAO concluded. "Instead, the state must pay this money as they retire or otherwise leave state service."

Although the state has a 640-hour leave cap, among the nation’s most generous, departments routinely ignore it and allow balances to balloon. That adds to the long-term tab the state owes its departing employees.

Our 5th most-popular post of 2013, Report: California's furloughs driving up leave cash-out costs, included an embedded copy of the LAO’s report on the connection between furloughs and leave balances. The LAO assessment was among the most-viewed documents embedded on The State Worker last year, with more than 33,000 reads via Scribd.

This post is the latest installment in a series counting down the most-viewed State Worker blog posts of 2013.

Read more articles by Jon Ortiz

About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


The State Worker Archives

Note: The State Worker blog switched blog platforms in October 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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