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Office of the New York State Comptroller
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August 26, 2014, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli: State Agency Overtime Tops $316 Million Halfway Into 2014

If Overtime Pace Continues, Total 2014 Costs Could Exceed $640 Million

State agencies spent more than $316 million on overtime in the first six months of 2014, a jump of $22 million over the same period in 2013, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today.  State employees worked more than 7.8 million overtime hours, up 7.6 percent over the same period in 2013.

“This troubling trend could again result in a record-breaking year of overtime hours and overtime pay,” DiNapoli said. “Our state agencies need to examine their practices, get to the root of what is driving high overtime and better manage these costs.”

DiNapoli’s office routinely issues reports on ways to improve the efficiency of state operations, including periodic reports on how overtime is managed by state agencies.

The total cost of overtime as a percentage of gross payroll rose slightly from 3.9 percent to 4.3 percent in the first six months of 2014. If overtime continues to rise at this pace, total costs for 2014 could exceed $640 million.  Last year, overtime at state agencies rose to a record $611 million, up nearly 16 percent over 2012.

Some of the increase is due to recent salary and other increases paid to state employees, which resulted in a higher cost-per-hour of overtime worked. However, total overtime hours also rose for many agencies.

The four agencies identified below accounted for 97.6 percent of the statewide increase in overtime costs in the first six months of 2014.

Agency

OT Spending
 (Jan-Jun 2014)

$ Increase

% Increase

Dept. of Corrections

$79,787,588

$6,864,970

9%

Office of Mental Health

$51,199,194

$6,167,989

14%

OPWDD

$67,092,038

$5,992,504

10%

Taxation & Finance

$4,595,174

$2,556,199

125%

Three of those agencies, which operate institutional facilities, accounted for 62.7 percent of total overtime spending: Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, and Office of Mental Health. These three agencies also accounted for 63.2 percent of all overtime hours worked.

The highest increase in overtime hours was at the Department of Taxation and Finance, which saw a 128 percent jump, followed by the Office of Information Technology Services with 110 percent. Last year, Taxation and Finance ran up more than $8 million in overtime costs due in large part to problematic monitoring and processing of paper income tax returns.

Other state agencies decreased overtime spending in the first six months of 2014. The highest percentage decreases among agencies which spent at least $500,000 on overtime were: Department of Labor, down nearly 72 percent; Division of Homeland Security, down 67 percent; and the Department of Financial Services, down 65 percent.

Generally, state employees who are eligible for overtime compensation are paid at a rate of 1 ½ times their regular pay. Overtime may also impact pension payout calculations.

For overtime spending data, click here: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/press/releases/aug14/comp_ot_earn_cy2013_14.pdf

For overtime hours data, click here: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/press/releases/aug14/comp_ot_hr_cy2013_14.pdf

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