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Colorado furloughs workdays of state employees due to budget shortfall

DENVER (KRDO) -- The State of Colorado announced Tuesday that it is furloughing the workdays for state employees who earn more than $50,000 a year due to a budget shortfall.

State employees, unless exempt, will be mandated to take furlough days before the end of the fiscal year. Those exempt include employees who are responding to the coronavirus pandemic, helping Coloradans find jobs, protecting public safety and roads, as well as employees earning $50,000 a year or less.

“Colorado is facing one of the most challenging economic crises in our history, and public agencies are facing difficult budget constraints," said Governor Jared Polis in a statement. "Just as the private sector is tightening its belt, so too must the government.

The Governor, his cabinet, the Lt. Governor, and members of the Governor’s office will be taking furlough days under the same rules as every other state employee.  

The table below shows how many furlough days a state employee will have to take depending on their annual salary.

Lower Salary BandUpper Salary BandNumber of Days
$0$50,0000
$50,000.01$70,0001
$70,000.01$90,0002
$90,000.01$140,0003
$140,000.01-----4

Polis said this furlough plan will help address the state's budget shortfall amid the pandemic while still ensuring critical services are operating in Colorado.

"I know this won’t be easy, but we’re in this together and know that we’ll bounce back even stronger than before," Polis said.

In order to minimize the impact of furloughs on state services, most State offices will be closed on Friday, November 27, 2020 after Thanksgiving. Furlough days will be distributed throughout the rest of the fiscal year.

Economy / Local News / State & Regional News

Zachary Aedo

Zach is a reporter for KRDO and Telemundo Surco. Learn more about Zach here.

Comments

13 Comments

  1. Your update only partially answered this question Mr. Aedo, but thank you for that. Please continue answering the rest of the question(s).

    How many Furlough days must each individual state employee making more than $50,000 a year and not work in the capacities of “employees who are necessary to respond to the COVID pandemic, those who assist Coloradans in finding jobs, and protect public safety and roads.” – Answered in update

    Given that list is very large, rather than attempting to determine which department’s fit this category. Wouldn’t it just be more simple and upfront, clear and concise just to say who is getting these furloughs and who does not?

    Will these furloughs be given at time and a half too since I am sure at the time when these employees were working most of the hours worked were overtime, since this was occurring during the pandemic. If not how does the state expect to reimburse the other .5 of monies spent that created the shortcoming?

    I am sure the State elected Government officials will do a good job, we should just trust this will be done correctly. Besides, what good is faith if it isn’t blind faith.

    1. “Will these furloughs be given at time and a half too since I am sure at the time when these employees were working most of the hours worked were overtime, since this was occurring during the pandemic.”
      .
      I think you’re missing the point. These furloughs are forced time off without pay. That’s how it helps balance the budget. So there’s no such thing as “time and a half” of zero.

      1. RealityCheck, Its called balancing out the equation.

        If on one side you have to use several hours of personnel being paid time and a half due to the pandemic,

        That would mean that in order to fully reimburse this fund you would need to not just furlough at full time, but time and a half.

        What you do to one side of the equation, you must do to the other to get it to properly balance.

        1. If the state doesn’t properly balance out the equation, then they will come up 1/2 short, because they never factored it in the equation.

          1. another way to get my point across,
            08
            +08
            +08
            +08
            +08
            =40

            10
            +10
            +10
            +10
            +10
            =50 or 40 at normal pay and 10 at time and a half

            If they took out 50, but only plan on reimbursing the states coffers for 40 then there is a shortfall. This is what I am referring to. Sorry I may have not written or relayed my thought out clear enough. Thanks RealityCheck.

          2. I think you’re over-complicating this issue. They have probably worked out the details to minimize the chance of requiring a second furlough. So don’t lose any sleep over it.

        2. Now I understand what you’re saying, but I doubt they worked it out to that level of detail. When you’re talking about thousands of workers (that’s a guess on my part), then I would bet that things tend to average out between people who were working overtime and those who were not. And they’ve probably erred on the conservative side by using normal rates of pay, so if they end up saving more than expected then they’re ahead of the game. That way they may be able to avoid having a second round of similar furloughs later.

          1. “And they’ve probably erred on the conservative side by using normal rates of pay, so if they end up saving more than expected then they’re ahead of the game. ”

            Actually, this is what my concern is, if they did not factor this at the right amount, then the state’s coffers will still come up short, thus not on the conservative side. The state employees will still end out on the higher end of this calculation, thus shorting the state of the monies it is owed back to retain balance, and potentially causing more furloughs when the balance is not attained.

        3. And I don’t think they’re talking about replacing furloughed people with other workers. They’ll just do without for those furloughed days, like the do if someone is sick. So there is no substitute pay (regular or overtime) for people to replace furloughed ones.

          1. Correct, this means that during this timeframe, all government employees making more than $50,000 a year and not work in the capacities of “employees who are necessary to respond to the COVID pandemic, those who assist Coloradans in finding jobs, and protect public safety and roads.” will all be working short-staffed. The State will not expect the demand of the work to decrease, but they will force employees to take a unpaid day off, and moreover cripple that department while x number of furloughed employees are off for that day.

        4. You assumption that they are getting hazard pay for working right now is not correct. It is just straight time at the normal wage. No time and a half.

          1. I didn’t assume they received hazard pay. I am assuming as with everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a higher rate of exposure to public workers. This would have caused them to endure a 14 day quarantine. While they were out, someone had to pick up that shift, ergo overtime.

  2. “In order to minimize the impact of furloughs on state services, most State offices will be closed on Friday, November 27, 2020 after Thanksgiving. Furlough days will be distributed throughout the rest of the fiscal year.”

    Because who does want to work on Black Friday…

Comments are closed.

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