Archive for Saturday, February 7, 2009

Furloughs begin for California workers

February 7, 2009


— California’s first-ever furloughs began Friday with more than 200,000 state workers expected to stay home without pay amid the state’s fiscal crisis.

Among the offices forced to close Friday were the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Consumer Affairs. The governor’s Office of Emergency Services also was dark as part of the cash-saving move ordered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Critical and revenue-generating agencies remained open, including fire stations, parks and employment centers that process unemployment insurance claims. California’s unemployment rate is 9.3 percent, a 15-year high.

At the state Department of Transportation, a handful of engineers showed up to work without pay because they didn’t want to get behind on projects they said were important to public safety.

Stan Slavin, an electrical engineer working on a traffic project in the San Francisco Bay area, said his partners at local agencies will be on the job so he was, too.

State agencies scrambled in the days before the furloughs took effect to avoid confusion for the public, such as people trying to register vehicles or obtain professional licenses.

Schwarzenegger ordered the two-day-a-month furloughs, reducing the average state worker’s salary by 9.2 percent, as he and lawmakers try to solve the state’s $42 billion budget shortfall.

The governor had hoped his order would apply to some 238,000 state employees, but each of the seven other constitutional officers have said they will not comply. Employees of the Legislature are not under his authority.


Centerville 9 years, 3 months ago

Reminds me of the "government shut down" in 1995. Only downside was the shopping malls around DC didn't have enough parking spaces.

Thinking_Out_Loud 9 years, 3 months ago

Pogo: generally speaking, as I understand it, yes. If the work benefits the employer, the employee is entitled to the various rights and privileges. Which is one of the reasons I was concerned about the employees that "donated" their time to a restaurant--whenever that story ran. A week or so ago. If the restaurant is subject to the Fair Labour Standards Act, the owner violated federal law by letting his employees do that. If the FLSA doesn't apply to him, all bets are off.

Thinking_Out_Loud 9 years, 3 months ago

I've been mulling over my response to Pogo. Even if it were legal for California employees to "volunteer" their time on their furloughed days (it's not really a "day off")--and it ain't--it wouldn't be a smart thing for those folks to do. Since their pay is being reduced, a better thing to do with that time is take on a part-time job to recover some of the wages they're losing.

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