State Employee Overtime on Record $275M Pace

05.31.2022
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Issues & Policies

Connecticut is on pace to spend a record $275.5 million on state employee overtime in fiscal 2022.

State agencies spent $206.6 million on overtime through the first three quarters of the fiscal year, an 11% increase ($20.4 million) over the same period in 2021.

State Overtime Spending, 2013-2022

Fiscal 2022 costs are on track to increase $35.6 million or 14.8% over last year, despite fewer state employees claiming overtime.

The General Assembly’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis’ quarterly report shows average per employee overtime increased $1,300 through the first three quarters over the same period in 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 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.

Taxpayer Implications

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%.

Overtime costs account for over 11% of Connecticut’s total state payroll.

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

DepartmentFY 2022 Overtime*FY 2021 Overtime**$ Difference% Difference
Correction$72.73 million$71.93 million$802,3391.1%
Mental Health & Addiction Services$41.06 million$39.17 million$1.9 million4.8%
Developmental Services$32.87 million$28.53 million$4.34 million15.2%
Emergency Services & Public Protection$30.71 million$25.18 million$5.55 million22%
Children & Families$13.09 million$7.39 million$5.69 million77%

*Through March 31, 2022. **Through March 31, 2021. Source: State Office of Fiscal Analysis.

DOC Leads All Agencies

Five state agencies account for 92% of all overtime spending with costs increasing at all through the third quarter of 2022.

The Department of Correction leads all agencies, spending $72.73 million to date, a 1.1% increase over the first three quarters of last year.

The number of incarcerated people declined 37% since 2017, while DOC overtime rose 48%.

DOC is on pace to spend a record $96.97 million on overtime this year—5.9% more than last year—despite the state’s prison population being at 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.

Increases

Overtime spending increased 4.8% to $41.06 million through the first three quarters at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and 15.2% to $32.87 million at the Department of Developmental Services.

The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection—where the CREATES Report also recommended addressing staffing levels—saw a 22% increase while the Department of Children and Families posted a 77% jump.

Total overtime spending at all other agencies increased $2.16 million (15%) for the first three quarters to $16.1 million.

Year-to-date overtime increased 445.6% at the Division of Criminal Justice—the largest percentage increase of any agency—170.5% at Office of the Secretary of State, and 139.7% in the Attorney General’s office.

Through March, 17,328 state employees were paid overtime, with an average payment of $11,922.

The Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities posted the largest decline (-$64,929; -45.7%) of any agency.

DESPP employees were paid an average $19,703 in overtime—the highest of any agency.

Through March, 17,328 state employees were paid overtime—down 132 from the same period in 2021—with an average payment of $11,922, up more than 12%.

DESPP employees were paid an average $24,902 in overtime—the highest of any agency—followed by DMHAS ($18,146), DDS ($17,512), DOC ($14,939), and the Department of Legislative Management, where 68 workers earned an average $9,684.

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