Members of TCSOA, TCLEA and the TCSO Administration went to Commissioners Court to fight against the 28 day pay cycle in favor of a 40 hour work week. The 28 day pay cycle has been in place for the past 12 years. The cycle allowed supervisors to flex overtime over a 28 days cycle.
Twelve years ago, the administration and the association agreed to the 28 day pay cycle as a temporary fix to rifting employees. The 28 day cycle was suppose to save the county anywhere from 1.3 to 2 million dollars. Over time the financial position on the county improved however, the cycle was allowed to remain in place. By allowing the cycle to stay in place, officers were losing overtime wages because they would work overtime in the beginning of the cycle and then be given a day off, even if they did not want to take it, later during the cycle. In addition, if they took anytime time off during the 28 day cycle during which the overtime was worked, the overtime was converted to straight time therefore forfeiting any premium pay already earned. The same scenario applied if a county holiday occurred during the 28 day cycle.
During the court session, the Administration (Sheriff Hamilton, Chief Sylvester and Major Clair) spoke adamantly against the cycle stating that officers who work overtime in a 40 hour work week deserved to be paid at time and a half and not have to wait for their earnings or get flexed weeks down the road. Sheriff Hamilton told the Court that we have the opportunity to do something special and make Travis County one of the best departments in the State by giving us the staff we need to do our job. Both TCSOA and TCLEA also stood firm and spoke out in favor on getting rid of the 28 day cycle and reverting back to a 40 hour work week. This ruling means that an employee who works more than 40 hours in a work week will lock in their overtime and it will be paid in most cases on their next paycheck. However, employees who do not complete 40 hours worked in a week and work overtime will still be paid at straight pay for a less than 40 hour work week.
In short, the money the court was saving by using the 28 day cycle will now go back to the employee who rightfully earned it.
During the court session, Commissioner Davis also brought up the issue of the need to increase the relief factor to offset the amount of overtime being used to cover vacancies, FML, vacation and sick leave. The estimated cost of converting the 28 day cycle to a 40 hour work week is in the neighborhood of 2 million dollars. Commissioner Davis suggested that the court take the position of coverting the cost of the cycle to FTE’s. The members of the court all seemed to be in agreement with the need to increase the relief factor.
On a side note, state law prohibits counties with a population of 1 million to work a 28 day cycles. The census was ratified in March but the cycle remained in place.