Health Care Workers Among Those Required To Take Unpaid Leave
Health care workers will be amongÂ a group of state employeesÂ forced to take two days off without pay each month after a Sacramento County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) furlough plan on Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette denied claims by unions and state controller John Chiang (D) that the governor's order was illegal.
In his ruling, Marlette called the governor's directive "reasonable and necessary under the circumstances."
Marlette said, "This state is in a huge mess ... the scope of which is unprecedented."
The state faces a projected deficit of nearly $42 billion by mid-2010 (McGreevy/Halper, Los Angeles Times, 1/30).
The furlough plan requires workers to take off the first and third Fridays of each month, or take the equivalent pay cut. The plan is expected to begin as early as next week and continue through mid-2010 (Zapler, San Jose Mercury News, 1/29).
Health care workers who will be among the 238,000 state workers affected by the furlough plan include:
- Pharmacists; and
- Psychologists (Los Angeles Times, 1/30).
Hospital nurses, prison staff and other workers at facilities that do not close will have more flexible schedules (Ortiz, Sacramento Bee, 1/30).
Chiang said he will implement the pay cuts that will result from the furloughs as ordered by the court.
The mandatory furloughs translate to a 9% pay cut for state employees.
Officials said the move will save the state roughly $1.3 billion through June 30, 2010.
Schwarzenegger said he wants the furloughs to stay in effect even after he and lawmakers settle on an agreement to address the deficit. Earlier this week, Schwarzenegger said the furloughs are an alternative to layoffs (Los Angeles Times, 1/30).
SEIU Union Local 1000, which represents about 95,000 state employees, has said it will appeal the ruling.
It already has filed two furlough grievances with the state Public Employee Relations Board (Sacramento Bee, 1/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.