Managers earning more during state furloughs
August 3, 2010
A review of public records is showing that hundreds of state managers and other high-ranking workers brought home more money home than usual during some weeks, thanks to a little-known federal law. [California Watch]
During furlough weeks between February 2009 and April 2010, state departments paid at least $1.6 million in overtime to salaried state workers who are not typically eligible to receive it, according to data provided by the state controller’s office. At least 14 employees took home more than $10,000 in overtime payments during that period.
The payments were allowed because during furlough weeks, federal law requires the state to temporarily classify most salaried workers as hourly employees so their pay can legally be reduced.
However, there is an unexpected side effect: Employees who are typically exempt from overtime rules became eligible for a rare opportunity to collect the extra cash.
For example, records show that Kirk Breed, executive director of the California Horse Racing Board, received nearly $7,200 in overtime payments — more than one-third of the estimated $17,000 he would have lost to furloughs.
Given Gov. Schwarzenegger’s recent announcement about more furloughs on the horizons, such payments are expected to continue.