California state employee retirements jumped 15% last year, as employees dealing with pandemic-related stress chose to leave the workforce, a pension fund spokesperson with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) confirmed.
About 12,300 state workers in the state retirement system retired last year, up from roughly 10,700 the year prior, according to CalPERS data, which was first reported on by the Sacramento Bee. It’s a major spike from the prior two-year period, when state retirements fell 1.8% from 2018 to 2019.
Overall, retirements in the entire CalPERS system—which includes state workers, as well as public agency employees and non-teaching school personnel—increased just 4% in 2020, data shows. The prior year, the number of retirements in the whole pension fund fell 1.4%.
Author(s): Sarah Min
Publication Date: 23 February 2021
Publication Site: ai-CIO
Gov. J.B. Pritzker is scheduled to outline his budget plan on Wednesday for the fiscal year that starts July 1. It should include sacrifice from the nearly 40,000 state workers whose jobs have not been at risk like millions in the private sector and who got generous pay raises, funded by taxpayers, during the pandemic when Illinois’ unemployment soared to 16%. It is high time the state’s unionized workforce be part of the “shared sacrifice” our politicians so often expect of the private sector workforce.
While sectors of the state workforce have been extra busy due to COVID-19’s strain on unemployment benefits and health care systems, many state offices and agencies have been closed, services backlogged and workers learning to perform their jobs from home. Taking unpaid furlough days should not be a big “ask” compared with what the private sector has endured under Pritzker’s shutdown orders — restaurants, hotels, convention business, sports and marketing jobs — entire industries sidelined and in some cases, wiped out.
Other blue state governors confronted their unionized workforces months ago and showed leadership in doing so. Democratic governors in Wisconsin, California and New York cut public sector pay, instituted across-the-board spending cuts throughout state government, froze hiring and scheduled raises, and prepared for what would become a nearly yearslong economic slump due to COVID-19. They did it to protect all taxpayers.
Author(s): Editorial board
Publication Date: 15 February 2021
Publication Site: Chicago Tribune
Orlando Cruz, senior vice president of ICMA-RC, says the layoffs following the Great Recession took years to recover from. “The layoffs, the furloughs, the early retirements we saw then really put states and localities in a hole through next decade to the point where — even before Covid — they had hard time recruiting in certain skill sets,” he said.
Now, he added, “governments are thinking strategically in terms of hiring.” State and local worker layoffs appear to have peaked in April — that’s different from the slow and steady layoffs that occurred over many months during the last recession. “Governments know they have to compete with other sectors for talent,” Cruz said during a call with reporters. What’s more, he said, budget constraints in the coming years will “make it harder to back fill those positions laid off.”
Author(s): Liz Farmer
Publication Date: 27 January 2021
Publication Site: Forbes