The State Worker

Jon Ortiz chronicles civil-service life for California state workers

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

01/07/2014 10:43 AM

01/07/2014 10:44 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.

About This Blog

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog 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 or 916-321-1043. Twitter: @TheStateWorker.


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