State government agencies spent $234.9 million on overtime in fiscal 2020, a slight increase over the previous year and the third highest in eight years.
Costs for 2020 rose just $600,000 (0.2%) over 2019, with a notable slowdown in fourth quarter overtime spending at most agencies.
Agencies spent $46.8 million on overtime in the fourth quarter of 2020, down $6.3 million or 12% from the same period in 2019.
Through the first three quarters of fiscal 2020, overtime spending was on pace to hit the second highest level in the last eight years.
Overtime costs peaked at $256.1 million in 2015, falling to $219 million in 2016 and a record low of $204.4 million in 2017.
Costs have soared since, hitting $228.2 million in 2018 and $234.3 million last fiscal year.
As overtime is allowed as a factor in calculating state employee pensions, the failure to control those costs drives up Connecticut's long-term liabilities.
Pension fund liabilities topped $34 billion in 2018 against assets of $13 billion for a funding ratio of just 38%—one of the lowest of any state.
How did the coronavirus impact overtime costs?
Of the five agencies responsible for more than 93% of all overtime, the Department of Correction was the only one that saw a spike in costs from April 1 through June 30—up 16% ($2.78 million) over the same period in 2019.
Connecticut's prison population stood at 12,409 inmates on March 1 and has now fallen below 10,000, a 31-year low.
Fourth quarter overtime spending compared with the the same period last year declined at the other four major agencies:
- Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services: -6% (-$740,000)
- Department of Developmental Services: -7% (-$640,000)
- Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection: -56% (-$2.64 million)
- Department of Children and Families: -22% (-$1.16 million)
Overtime Spending: Top Five Agencies
|Department||FY 2020 Overtime||FY 2019 Overtime||$ Difference||% Difference|
|Correction||$78.78 million||$76.56 million||$2.22 million||2.9%|
|Mental Health & Addiction Services||$55.89 million||$52.86 million||$3.03 million||5.7%|
|Developmental Services||$39.15 million||$39.68 million||($527,910)||-1.3%|
|Emergency Services & Public Protection||$26.99 million||$26.27 million||$716,111||2.7%|
|Children & Families||$18.03 million||$22.24 million||($4.21 million)||-18.9%|
Source: State Office of Fiscal Analysis.
Overall, 28 state agencies cut overtime spending in 2020, with costs rising at 10.
DOC again led all agencies, spending $78.78 million in fiscal 2020, up $2.2 million (2.9%) over the previous year.
DOC paid 5,266 employees an average $15,075 in overtime in 2020. The previous year, 5,166 correction workers were paid an average $14,820.
Overtime costs rose 5.7% ($3.03 million) at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, which paid 2,418 employees an average $23,117, the highest of any agency.
The Department of Development Services reduced overtime spending by 1.3% (-$527,910), paying an average $18,469 to 2,120 workers.
Overtime increased $716,111 (2.7%) at the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, with 1,207 workers paid an average $22,358.
The Department of Children and Families cut overtime costs 18.9% (-$4.21 million) in 2020, paying 2,460 employees an average $7,329.
Overtime costs at all other agencies declined $680,000 million (-4%) to $16.02 million in fiscal 2020.
The number of state employees paid overtime in 2020 fell by 1,068 (-6%) to 17,265, with an average payout of $13,604.