State government overtime spending is up 8.4% over last year, with agencies on pace to spend a record $283.6 million in fiscal 2022.
Agencies spent $141.8 million on overtime through the first half of the year, $11 million more than for the same period in fiscal 2021.
At this pace, total fiscal 2022 overtime spending will jump $43.7 million or 18% over last year.
The General Assembly's nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis’ quarterly report shows costs soaring despite fewer state employees taking overtime compared with last year.
State agency overtime costs peaked at $256.1 million in 2015, falling to $219 million in 2016 and a record low $204.4 million in 2017.
Overtime spending has increased every year since, hitting $228.2 million in 2018, $234.3 million in 2019, $234.9 million in 2020, and $239.9 million—the third highest on record—last fiscal year.
The March 2021 CREATES report, commissioned by the Lamont administration to evaluate workforce efficiency and identify potential spending reductions, found Connecticut spends a higher share of payroll on overtime than neighboring states.
Overtime costs represent more than 11% of Connecticut's total state payroll, compared with 5% in Massachusetts, 4.7% in New York, and New Jersey's 4.2%.
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, with significant implications for taxpayers.
The CREATES report notes that modernizing workforce management, capping pensionable overtime, and improving hiring processes and oversight of overtime and workers' compensation practices "could generate $70 million to $100 million in cost savings and improve conditions for state employees."
Overtime Spending: Top Five Agencies
|Department||FY 2022 Overtime*||FY 2021 Overtime**||$ Difference||% Difference|
|Correction||$48.47 million||$48.91 million||($452,908)||-0.9%|
|Mental Health & Addiction Services||$28.33 million||$26.87 million||$1.48 million||5.5%|
|Emergency Services & Public Protection||$23.47 million||$21.17 million||$2.29 million||10.8%|
|Developmental Services||$22.71 million||$19.58 million||$3.13 million||16%|
|Children & Families||$9.05 million||$4.58 million||$4.47 million||97.7%|
*Through Dec. 31, 2021. **Through Dec. 31, 2020. Source: State Office of Fiscal Analysis.
DOC Costs Decline
Of the five state agencies that account for 93% of all overtime spending, only the Department of Correction saw a decline from the first six months of fiscal 2021.
DOC continues to lead all agencies in overtime costs, spending $24.9 million in the second quarter of 2022 for a six-month total of $48.47 million, -0.9% lower the same period last year.
The agency spent a record $91.6 million on overtime—about 18% of payroll—last year, despite the state's prison population falling to a three-decade low.
The number of people incarcerated in Connecticut prisons has declined 37% since 2017, while DOC overtime spending has risen 48%.
The CREATES report recommended returning DOC staffing to pre-COVID levels and shutting three of the state's prisons—capacity in 2020 was at 56%—to help address overtime spending.
DCF Overtime Doubles
Overtime costs increased 5.5% compared with the first half of 2021 to $28.33 million at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Costs jumped 10.8% through the first six months to $23.47 million at the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection—where the CREATES Report also recommended hiring more employees—and 16% to $22.71 million at the Department of Developmental Services.
Department of Children and Families overtime nearly doubled over the same period last fiscal year, with the agency spending $9.05 million through Dec. 31, 2021.
Total overtime spending at all other agencies increased 0.7% for the first two quarters to $9.8 million.
Year-to-date overtime increased 670% to $219,851 at the Department of Labor—the largest percentage increase of any agency—656% at the Division of Criminal Justice, and 390% in the Attorney General's office.
The Department of Social Services posted the largest decline (-$672,215; -22.8%) of any agency.
Through the first half of the fiscal year, 15,906 state employees were paid overtime—down 564 from the same period in 2021—with an average payment of $8,917.
DESPP employees were paid an average $19,703 in overtime—the highest of any agency—followed by DMHAS ($13,505), DDS ($12,750), DOC ($10,881), and the Department of Legislative Management, where 35 workers earned an average $8,484.