Note: The following questions and answers apply to general government non-represented employees only. General government and higher education represented employees should contact their HR office or designated union representative. HR professionals who have questions related to represented employees or union representatives should contact their agency labor relations representative within the Labor Relations Office. Higher education non-represented employees should contact their HR office for information regarding the impact of ESSB 5860.
1. What authorizes the 3 percent temporary salary reduction?
Effective July 1, 2011, newly enacted legislation (ESSB 5860
) requires a 3% reduction to the base salaries for most employees of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
2. When does the salary reduction take effect?
The 3% salary reduction is effective July 1, 2011 and will be reflected on the employee’s July 25, 2011 paycheck.
3. How long does the salary reduction stay in place?
Legislation adopted and signed by the Governor is effective July 1, 2011, through June 29, 2013, unless superseded by other actions.
4. Which non-represented employees does the salary reduction apply to?
The salary reduction applies to most non-represented state general government employees whose monthly full-time equivalent base salary is $2500 or more prior to the salary reduction.
5. Will hourly employees be subject to the 3 percent salary reduction?
Yes, if the monthly full-time equivalent base salary is $2500 or more prior to the salary reduction.
6. Will elected officials be subject to the 3% salary reduction?
ESSB 5860 says elected officials whose salaries are set by the commission on salaries for elected officials are not subject to the 3% salary reduction. Section (6) of the bill says this language does not prohibit elected officials from voluntarily agreeing to a reduction in salary and they are encouraged to take such action.
7. If the 3% temporary salary reduction lowers my monthly full-time equivalent base salary to below $2500 do I still have to take the reduction?
Yes. The determination is based on the monthly full-time equivalent base salary prior to the salary reduction.
8. Who is excluded from the salary reduction?
Employees with a monthly full-time equivalent base salary of less than $2500 are not subject to the salary reduction. Additionally, elected officials are not subject to the reduction, however they may voluntarily have 3% withheld from their salary.
The legislation also excludes specific groups of employees. See Section 1 of ESSB 5860
9. If I work part-time and make less than $2500 a month, how will the salary reduction affect me?
The determination as to whether the 3% salary reduction applies is based on the position’s full-time equivalent base salary.
Example - Using the salary grid effective prior to July 1, 2011 for an Office Assistant 1, salary range 25, step L, the monthly full-time equivalent base salary is $2426. Because the monthly full-time equivalent base salary is less than $2500, an employee working part-time within that classification at any step would not be affected by the 3% salary reduction.
Example - Using the salary grid effective prior to July 1, 2011 for an Office Assistant 2, salary range 28, step L, the monthly full-time equivalent base salary is $2598. The monthly full-time equivalent base salary is $2500 or more and an employee working part-time and at step L would be impacted by the 3% salary reduction.
10. If my full-time monthly equivalent base salary is greater than $2500 however leave without pay results in my salary being less than $2500 will I have to take a 3% salary reduction?
Yes. The 3% salary reduction is based on a position’s monthly full-time equivalent base salary.
11. Will I have furlough days or temporary layoff days due to the salary reduction?
ESSB 5860 does not require additional temporary layoff days or furlough days. Rather, employees subject to the temporary salary reduction will have their base salary reduced by 3% and in exchange will receive up to 5.2 hours of Temporary Salary Reduction (TSR) leave. (See Q&A on TSR Leave.
12. May I still be required to take temporary layoff days or furloughs in addition to the salary reduction?
While ESSB 5860 does not require temporary layoff days or furloughs in addition to the 3% salary reductions, budgets may necessitate agencies to implement staffing reductions including temporary layoffs or furloughs.
13. How do I know what my salary will be after the salary reduction goes into effect?
The revised salary schedules
are available the SHR website.
14. Will I still receive periodic increment increases (PID) during this time?
Yes. PIDs are not impacted by the 3% salary reduction legislation.
15. If my PID brings my monthly full-time equivalent base salary to $2500 or more, will I have to take the salary reduction?
Yes. If a PID brings your monthly full-time equivalent base salary to $2500 or more, your salary will meet the requirement for the 3% base salary reduction set by legislation.
16. If I work overtime, will the overtime compensation be calculated based on my reduced salary?
No. The payroll system will restore the 3% reduction when calculating the compensation overtime.
17. Will the 3% salary reduction affect other pay types which are a percentage of monthly base pay?
Other than overtime, all pay types calculated by using a percentage of the employee’s monthly base pay will be affected by the 3% salary reduction.
18. What compensation types are included when determining whether a position falls within the $2500 exemption?
Monthly base salary is the only compensation considered when determining if a position falls within the $2500 exemption. Pay premiums such as assignment pay, shift differential, etc are not considered.
19. If I leave state service will my vacation leave be cashed out using my reduced salary?
The temporary salary reduction will not apply to vacation leave cashed out at separation or retirement.
20. If I participate in the sick leave buy-out in January or leave state service due to retirement or death will the temporary salary reduction affect my sick leave buy-out?
No. The temporary salary reduction will not apply to sick leave cashed out under the provisions of WAC 357-31-150
21. Will compensatory time cashed out under WAC 357-28-285 be impacted by the temporary salary reduction?
No. The temporary salary reduction will not apply to compensatory time cashed out under WAC 357-28-285.
22. How does the passage of ESSB 5860 impact retirement benefits?
In general, the temporary salary reduction outlined in ESSB 5860 should not impact the retirement benefit calculation of members of the affected retirement systems. HB 2070
was passed during the 2011 Legislative session and required the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) to calculate a member’s retirement benefit using the compensation that would have been earned had it not been for the reduction in salary. The provisions of this bill apply to members of PERS, TRS, SERS, PSERS, WSPRS, and LEOFF.
23. What time period is covered under HB 2070 (referenced in question #20 above)?
The salary protections of HB 2070 apply during the 2011-2013 biennium only; from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2013.
24. During the 2011-2013 biennium are the pensions of retiring employees still protected from other types of salary reductions such as furloughs or temporary layoffs?
HB 2070 also protects pensions from the impacts of other types of salary reductions, as long as they are certified by the employer as part of their overall expenditure reduction efforts.
25. I am retiring from PERS Plan 1 during the upcoming biennium. Will the additional value in my retirement benefit due to my annual leave cash out be affected by ESSB 5860?
No. ESSB 5860 requires the annual leave to be cashed out at full value. Additionally, the salary average used for retirement will not be affected because of HB 2070. Any leave value that would have been included in your benefit calculation prior to the passage of these two bills will still be included.
26. How will DRS know what my compensation should have been when I retire?
When you ask DRS to provide you with an estimate of your retirement benefit, DRS will ask whether you had any qualifying salary reductions during this biennium. If you answer yes, DRS will solicit the unreduced salary from your employer and use that in your benefit calculation.
27. Will the salary reduction impact an employee’s calculation of time loss?
The factors that determine a worker’s time-loss benefit rate include their wage at the time they were injured. Because of this, the salary reduction will not impact the time-loss compensation rates for existing worker claims, but would be considered for new claims, as are other changes such as step increases.