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.