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April 2021 Labor Relations Update

Author: Human Resources
Date: 4/23/2021 4:37 PM

April 2021 Labor Relations Update: Increases to Unrepresented Employees’ Compensation and Benefits, and Important Information for SB95 and Vacation Cap Reinstatement

Unrepresented Compensation Increases


We are excited to announce that on April 20, 2021 the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved compensation and benefits increases for unrepresented employees. Significant resources were invested into a compensation package that includes substantial increases, and the Board was comfortable approving these increases in spite of the impacts COVID-19 pandemic has had over the past year.  You can read the entire board item with specific details of the changes by clicking here, and a summary of the changes and effective dates is below.


Wages – A Focus on Compaction & Step 6

On May 2, 2021 approximately 33% of unrepresented employees will receive an increase to address salary compaction between unrepresented supervisors and represented employees they supervise, internal alignments with unrepresented classifications, and parity for confidential classifications and their represented counterparts. The average increase is about 3.36%. Eligible employees will see these increases on their May 21, 2021 paycheck.


On June 27, 2021, a new step 6 will be added at 5% above step 5. Employees who have been at step 5 for at least a year as of June 27, 2021 and whose service has been satisfactory will be eligible to be placed at step 6 on June 27, 2021. All unrepresented employees will be eligible for this increase to step 6 as they progress through the salary steps of their classification.


Healthcare – Increases to Address Future Increases

On the first paycheck of January 2022 there will be increases to the cafeteria contribution for unrepresented employees with employee plus one dependent and employees with employee plus two or more dependent medical coverage. For employees with employee plus one dependent medical coverage the cafeteria contribution will increase to $1,100 per month, and for employees with employee plus two or more dependent medical coverage the cafeteria contribution will increase to $1,340 per month.


Also starting the first paycheck of January 2022, unrepresented employees in the High Deductible Health Plan will receive a new Health Savings Account contribution match of up to $750 per year, paid in the amount of $28.85 per pay period.


Pension Sharing – Caps and Holidays

Employees and the County normally split pension rate increases 50/50. For July 2021, the standard cost sharing approach would have resulted in most unrepresented employees receiving a 1.95% increase to their pension contribution. However, to help mitigate the impact of these pension increases have on employees’ compensation, unrepresented Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees will instead only have a 0.46% increase, and Tier 3 employees will have a pension “holiday”, meaning Tier 3 will not receive a pension rate increase in July.


Administrative Leave – An Additional Day

Starting in Fiscal Year 2021-22 one additional administrative leave day will be added for all unrepresented employees. This means that BU11 employees will receive 4 administrative leave days (an increase from 3), BU07 employees will receive 5 administrative leave days (an increase from 4), and BU08, 09, and 16 employees will receive 7 administrative leave days (an increase from 6).


Lateral Transfer Provisions – Enhanced for Recruitment & Retention of Employees

Unrepresented employees hired with at least one year of prior similar experience will be eligible to have their vacation accrual rate adjusted based on their prior experience. These employees will also be eligible for an advance of 60 sick leave hours available for use upon hire.


Declared Emergency Pay

Starting on May 2, 2021, unrepresented exempt staff (salaried staff), and represented exempt staff in BU04, BU12, and BU15 who work during a locally declared county emergency or request for out-of-county mutual aid will be eligible for straight time pay above 40 hours in a week for working in response to the emergency, after initially working 10 additional unpaid hours. This additional pay is non-pensionable and will not count towards time in service.


Human Resources will be working with your departments on how to implement the new step 6, lateral transfer provisions, and emergency pay. If you have questions about any of these changes, you can reach out to HR via email at [email protected].   


SB95 Covid-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave


On March 19, 2021 Governor Newsom signed SB95 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave into law, which grants employees up to an additional 80 hours of leave for specific COVID-19 related reasons. These hours are in addition to and separate from your other leave balances, including sick leave, and are available from January 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. This leave is limited to specific situations related to COVID-19 for employees who are unable to work or telecommute.


A new leave bucket has been created for this leave, and upon approval, from April 1 through September 30 employees will use absence type 0031 on their timecards. To request these COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave hours, you will need to submit an e-form for approval (here). If you are unable to complete the form, your payroll coordinator can do it on your behalf. Once approved and routed to the Auditor’s Office, the hours will be available for you to code on your timecard.


The specific COVID-19 related reasons for this sick leave are as follows:


  • COVID: Caring for Yourself: The employee is subject to quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as defined by an order or guidelines of the California Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local health officer with jurisdiction over the workplace, has been advised by a healthcare provider to quarantine, or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. The employee is seeking or awaiting the results of a diagnostic test for, or a medical diagnosis of, COVID-19 and such employee has been exposed to COVID-19 or the employee’s employer has requested such test or diagnosis.
  • COVID: Caring for a Family Member: The covered employee is caring for a family member who is subject to a COVID-19 quarantine or isolation period or has been advised by a healthcare provider to quarantine due to COVID-19, or is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 on the premises (SB95) or due to COVID-19 related reasons.
  • COVID: Vaccine-Related: The covered employee is attending a vaccine appointment or cannot work or telework due to vaccine-related symptoms.


Full time employees will be able to see how much leave they have available by logging into Employee Self Service (your timesheet) and selecting “View Time Account Balances”. Part-time employees will see how many hours they have available once they first take the leave as their hours are prorated and will be calculated once they start to take the leave.


Vacation Cap Reinstatement


During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Supervisors lifted the 320-hours cap on vacation accruals through the end of the 2020, and then extended it through the end of the pay period including July 1, 2021. The increased cap is intended to help provide additional flexibility to employees who are at or near the cap but unable to take time off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


On March 29, an email was sent out to staff who are over or close to being over the 320-hour vacation accrual cap. That email contained information about options for reducing your vacation hours before the cap will be reinstated and how the reinstatement will work. If you received that email, please take action accordingly.


Here are some suggestions to help plan for the reinstatement of the cap and to mitigate remaining at the cap in the new fiscal year:

  • Review your current vacation balance by logging into Employee Self Service (your timesheet) and selecting “View Time Account Balances”.
  • Consider how much additional time you will accrue by the end of the fiscal year. Vacation accruals happen on the last day of a pay period making July 10, 2021 the last day of accrual before the 320-hour cap is reinstated. The maximum rate of accrual is 6.16 hours a pay period.
  • Consider taking vacation time if you can and or/cash out vacation time if you are eligible.


If you have no plans or are unable to take or cash out vacation time before July please be aware that after July 10, 2021:

  • The cash out for any balances above 320 hours as of July 10 will be paid on the July 16 paycheck.
  • You will have between July 11 and July 24 to use vacation time to account for the hours that would be accrued in that timeframe. (If at the cap you would need to use at least 6.16 hours or more).
  • If you were over the 320 cap and did not draw down your balances, you will have 320 hours of vacation as of July 24 and will not accrue any additional hours until you take some vacation time.