California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Appeals Court Upholds Furloughs Instituted by Gov. Schwarzenegger

On Friday, California's First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco issued a ruling upholding furloughs that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) imposed on state workers, the Sacramento Bee's "The State Worker" reports.

The ruling marks the second time this year that the appellate court has upheld furloughs for state employees who are not paid through the state's general fund.


In 2008, Schwarzenegger imposed two furlough days per month on thousands of state workers. The move prompted labor unions and state workers to file lawsuits challenging the furloughs.

In 2010, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling stating that the furloughs were legal because the state Legislature retroactively authorized them as part of the yearly budget process. The state Supreme Court case did not address furloughs at agencies that are funded by sources outside the state's general fund.

The ruling spurred labor unions to file three separate appeals. In May, an appeals court upheld the furloughs in a lawsuit filed by the Union of American Physicians and Dentists.

The latest ruling pertains to a lawsuit filed by the Service Employees International Union-Local 1000. A hearing date for the third appeals court case has yet to be set.

Details of the Ruling

Friday's ruling overturned a lower court decision that would have required the state to pay millions of dollars in back wages and interest to thousands of state workers represented by SEIU-Local 1000.

However, the appeals court noted that the ruling does not apply to five of the 63 state departments covered by the lawsuit because those agencies were not included in the budget passed by the Legislature in 2009.

The judges said the lower court must review the legality of furloughs at those five departments, which include First 5 California (Dave, "The State Worker," Sacramento Bee, 7/8).

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