Approximately 20,000 state employees got too much money in their paychecks last month. Now the government wants it back
The errors ranged from $37 to $101 per employee and showed up in checks and direct deposits issued in January for the December pay period, State Controller’s Office spokesman John Hill said.
The mistake was limited to workers covered by two unions, including 12,689 employees in the California Correctional Peace Officers Association and “about 7,000” workers in the International Union of Operating Engineers Bargaining Unit 12, Hill said.
The Controller’s Office was still figuring out the exact number as of Thursday night and did not have a total for all the money overpaid. The number of erroneous payments represents about 5 percent of all the paychecks and direct deposits the state issues in a month.
The total direct deposits and paychecks issued by the State Controller’s Office in January.
Hill said the overpayments occurred because the controller’s office failed to increase some employees’ withholding for medical insurance.
“We had a high volume of health plan changes this year,” Hill said, and staff could not complete hand entering those employee-by-employee adjustments into the state’s outdated payroll system in time.
For those whose share of the cost should have been increased but wasn’t, the state paid extra to cover the higher January premiums. The individual amounts varied, depending on each employee’s health plan and whether dependents were also covered.
Hill said that employees can repay the state through payroll deduction, direct payment or by deducting leave credits.