Connecticut is on pace to spend a record $280 million on state employee overtime in fiscal 2022.
State agencies spent $70 million on overtime in the first quarter of the fiscal year, an 8.3% jump ($5.3 million) over the same period last year.
The General Assembly's nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis’ quarterly report shows overtime costs on track to increase 17% over fiscal 2021.
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 in 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.
Connecticut spends a higher share of payroll on overtime than neighboring states, according to the March 2021 CREATES report commissioned by the Lamont administration to evaluate workforce efficiency and identify potential spending reductions.
Overtime costs account for over 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 major implications for taxpayers.
The 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 $100 million in cost savings and improve conditions for state employees."
Overtime Spending: Top Five Agencies
|Department||Q1 FY 2022 Overtime||Q1 FY 2021 Overtime||$ Difference||% Difference|
|Correction||$23.5 million||$23.9 million||($384,728)||-1.6%|
|Mental Health & Addiction Services||$13.9 million||$13.09 million||$847,742||6.5%|
|Emergency Services & Public Protection||$12.4 million||$12.04 million||$353,269||2.9%|
|Developmental Services||$11.66 million||$9.38 million||$2.28 million||24.3%|
|Children & Families||$4.18 million||$1.77 million||$2.4 million||135.3%|
Source: State Office of Fiscal Analysis.
DOC Costs Fall
Of the five state agencies that account for 93% of all overtime spending, only the Department of Correction saw costs decline from the first quarter of fiscal 2021.
DOC continues to lead all agencies in overtime costs, spending $23.5 million in the first quarter of 2022, down 1.6% over 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 Up 135%
Overtime costs fell 6.5% compared with the first quarter of 2021 to $13.9 million at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Spending increased 2.9% to $12.4 million at the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and 24.3% to $11.7 million at the Department of Developmental Services.
The Department of Children and Families saw the biggest quarterly dollar increase of any agency, with costs rising $2.4 million (135.3%) to $4.2 million as almost 400 additional agency employees took overtime.
Total overtime spending at all other agencies declined $200,000 for the quarter to $4.3 million.
For the quarter, 14,354 state employees were paid overtime—up 550 from the same period in 2021—with an average payment of $4,874.