It has been a month and a half since the fiscal year began and we continue to work with the County to implement all aspects of the new MOU and the settlement agreement. Because there are so many layers to both the MOU and the settlement agreement, rolling everything out has taken considerable time. We write to update you on the status of implementation.
1) The raise (1%) and a new step 13 (2.75%) for the Attorney III, IV and Senior (“turbo”) class took effect on July 10, and you should have seen the 1% raise in your July 31 pay check. If you have not yet received your review, which is required to get the 13th step or if you have received your review but your office has not processed it, the 13th step will be retroactive to July 10, 2015 regardless of when the review is processed. The 13th step applies if you were topped out (at step 12) in the III, IV or senior classes for at least one year before July 10, 2015, then you are eligible to be advanced to step 13. If you are eligible for the 13thstep but do not see the adjustment by the end of September, please let one of your union representatives know. You can determine if you are being paid at step 13 by looking at your hourly rate noted on your July 31 paystub and then comparing that to the salary scheduled on the County’s HR website, here is the link: http://ocgov.com/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?blobid=45039
2) Retroactive merit increases:
The County is still developing the list of all attorneys impacted by this particular provision of the settlement.
The County expects to have all individuals identified and to process the retroactive merit increases such that you will see the adjustment to your salary in the August 28 pay check. But this is a two step adjustment. County HR can identify and adjust each attorney entitled to the salary adjustment and adjust your salary step prospectively. The retroactive component of the adjustment must be processed through each agency’s HR. Thus, although your salary step will be adjusted on the August 28 paycheck, we are told your retroactive reimbursement will be processed by each agency and will come to you sometime thereafter.
If you are asking yourself, “what does the retroactive merit increase mean?”, here is an explanation. During the imposition, new hires (whether hired into the 1, 2 or 3 class) were getting an evaluation at their year anniversary and, if they passed probation would promote to the next class, or if you were hired as a three you would get a review at the year anniversary and get a merit increase of 1 or 2 steps.
As part of the settlement, and the new MOU, we have returned to the pre-imposition process, where you are entitled to a merit review and a corresponding step increase (1 or 2 steps) at the 6 month anniversary as you progress from 1, 2 to 3. Once you reach the 3 level you get a 6 month merit review and thereafter are entitled to a performance evaluation at each year anniversary of the original 6 month review, so you get a review and a merit increase (either one or 2 steps) at 6 months, 18 months, 30 months, and so on once you become a 3. As part of the settlement, any attorney in the 1, 2 or 3 class who did not get their 6 month merit review and corresponding step increase as a result of the imposition, will receive a salary adjustment retroactive to your 6 month date.
Also as part of the settlement, anyone who did not get a merit increase and/or did not get 2 steps, will get their salary adjusted retroactively to award a 2 step increase. You may have received a merit review but only received one step, but as part of the settlement you will retroactively receive the second step. This retroactive award of a merit increase has a potential domino effect on your salary if you promoted from one class to the next during the imposition period. This is true because the salary step that you are at in the lower classification affects the salary step you move to when you promote into the next class. For example, lets presume you were hired at an attorney 1, step 4 but during the imposition you did not get a merit review at the 6 month anniversary, but you did promote to an attorney 2 at the year anniversary. You would have promoted from attorney 1, step four to an attorney 2, step 1. HOWEVER, when the retroactive merit increase is applied, you would have been an attorney 1 step 6 when you promoted to an attorney 2, which means you should have been placed at step 3 in the attorney 2 class. In this scenario, you will be retroactively compensated to the 6 month anniversary as an attorney 1, and also retroactively compensated because you should have promoted into a higher step when you promoted to attorney 2.
This helps to demonstrate why it has taken the County quite a while to process through this aspect of the settlement because there is the possibility of multiple retroactive salary adjustments that have to be determined to make sure you are placed in the proper step and class going forward.
3) The reverse pick up and the 2% bonus for the PEPRA employees
The County has not processed the 2% bonus yet for PEPRA employees (generally employees hired after January 1, 2013) and consequently they have not started charging the reverse pick up (approx. 2.44%) yet. The bonus and the reverse pick up deduction are expected in either your August 14 or August 28 paycheck.
4) Pregnancy leave
One of the changes to the MOU effects women who take pregnancy leave and it reduces the number of hours that a woman must draw down from their leave balances from 192 to 50 before she qualifies for disability leave insurance benefits. This is not yet implemented, because before the County can implement this provision, it must amend the contract with its disability insurance provider. The contract is presently up for renewal but the terms have not been settled on that would extend this benefit as bargained for in our MOU. Rest assured that we are tracking this issue closely, and will do whatever we can to make sure the contract with the insurance company, when renewed, contains the necessary language to comply with the MOU. Also, there is some confusion in the way this provision is written in the MOU. We will be entering a “side letter” with the County to clarify the issue.
5) 2.7 at 55 employees and your settlement
We have learned that attorneys who received retroactive evaluations at or near the time (late April through early June of 2015) that the County was running the calculations for the lump sum retroactive payment of the employee pick up may have not received their full and proper reimbursement. This is because the numbers that the County was using to calculate each person’s settlement did not consider the retroactive evaluations with the corresponding pay increase and the deductions taken for the employee pick up. The County is still working on this particular issue.
6)Conversion of Annual Leave to Sick Leave
If you are interested in converting any annual leave hours to sick leave this must be done by September 28. Discuss this with your agency HR if it is something you wish to do.