You can expect the state, which regulates overtime, to play and pay by the rules. However in describing the kind of overtime stipends some state workers are earning, it serves as a reminder to those who are being stiffed—or suspect they are—to stop being taken advantage of and pursue what is rightfully your due.
According to AP the state launched the audit after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger imposed a series of unpaid furloughs on state employees to help ease a massive deficit.
The results of the California overtime audit are staggering: the state paid out $2.1 billion since 2004—and a lot of that went to employees in certain sectors.
The highest overtime payments went to 26 firefighters, four highway patrolmen and 110 employees at the departments of Veterans Affairs, Mental Health, and Developmental Services.
For example, some state employees claimed more than $150,000 in overtime in a year. That's over and above regular pay. Nineteen of the 489 nurses at the Napa State Hospital averaged $78,000 in regular pay and $99,000 in overtime, while 27 of the 430 psychiatric assistants at the Sonoma Developmental Center averaged $41,000 in overtime on top of their average $33,000 annual salary.
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To that end a state law blocked that practice earlier this year, but the statute can be overridden by any future collective bargaining.
Nonetheless, the point here is that overtime, either for scheduled overtime or extra hours that come along unexpectedly, is required to be paid according to formulae and guidelines contained in state law. As the foregoing shows, some employees of the state itself earned more overtime in a year than their base pay. While this can't be said of every industry sector the fact remains there are many employees in various sectors who are routinely denied overtime by their employer, or don't bother putting in for it.