Overtime costs hit record high for state agencies

New York State money
New York State money(WWNY)
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 1:41 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - State agencies have hit a new record when it comes to overtime costs. That’s according to a report released Thursday by the state comptroller.

OT costs rose 47.2 percent to more than $1.36 billion in 2022.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says it’s because of staffing levels.

“People leaving state jobs drastically outpaced hiring in 2020 and 2021, and the sharp decline in the size of the workforce spurred longer hours on the job for many. However, overtime is not a long-term substitute for proper staffing levels. State agencies should ensure that overtime use is justified and that employees are not pushed to the point of burning out,” he said.

Overtime hours increased 11.1 percent to 22.2 million last year.

OT earnings comprised 7.5 percent of total payroll spending in 2022, a significant increase from the 4.6 percent average from 2013-2021.

One of the key findings of the report is that three agencies accounted for more than two-thirds of the state’s overtime:

  • Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)
  • Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS)
  • Office of Mental Health (OMH)

Together they comprised 24 percent of the workforce but accounted for 67.5 percent of the overtime hours and 68.5 percent of the overtime earnings logged by all state agencies in 2022.

Overtime hours at the City University of New York (CUNY) and the Office of Children and Family Services increased by more than 67 percent and 40 percent, respectively. Overtime earnings grew more than 51 percent and 112 percent, respectively.

Fewer than 1 in 5 state agency employees work overtime. Six state agencies had more than 25 percent of their workforce accruing overtime in 2022.

Veterans’ Homes and OPWDD had the highest shares, at 52.1 percent and 52 percent respectively, followed by the State Police at 44.2 percent.

Pay per overtime hour averaged $61.41. This rate is almost one-third higher than in 2021.

The State Police paid the highest average hourly rate, at $85.23 per overtime hour.

OMH paid the next highest, at $71.30, followed by Children and Family Services at $67.98. The latter two agencies’ overtime pay per overtime hour went up over 61 percent and 51 percent respectively in 2022 compared to 2021.

During the 10-year period, the average annual number of employees working for the state, excluding SUNY and CUNY, declined from 160,829 employees in 2013 to roughly 142,396 in 2022 – a drastic reduction from 15 years ago when the state workforce size was over 180,000.

The 2021 rate of attrition was the highest in the last ten years, with 16,858 people leaving the workforce, an increase of 26 percent from the prior year.

DiNapoli said new hiring declined sharply in 2020 but rebounded in 2021, though not nearly enough to match attrition.