California law enforcement will receive $1,500 pandemic bonuses

Law enforcement and other public safety officers employed by California are set to receive $1,500 pandemic bonuses after Governor Gavin Newsom and unions reach agreements.

According to the agreements released Friday, the state will distribute bounties to public safety officers, including California Highway Patrol officers, state corrections officers and park rangers.

Agreements have been reached with the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn., the California Assn. of Highway Patrolmen and the California Statewide Law Enforcement Assn., subject to approval by the Legislature, said Camille Travis, spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Resources.

The total cost of the bonuses and the number of employees who will receive them have not been finalized. Departments will assess employee eligibility, and the state will not know the final amount of funding until agreements are ratified and payments are made, Travis said.

“Once again, I am thrilled to see that this administration understands the value of the services provided by all Unit 7 classifications,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Assn. said chairman Alan Barcelona in a press release. “It expands the benefits we’ve been able to negotiate during the pandemic.”

Workers must have been employed by the state on January 1 and continue their employment until July 1 to be eligible. The bonuses are a one-time payment that will not count towards the retirement compensation, according to the letters of agreement.

The California Statewide Law Enforcement Assn. also noted that workers will receive the bonus whether they worked in person or remotely, and that employees should expect to receive the payments during their July or August pay periods.

After a $1.9 trillion federal coronavirus relief package signed in March 2021 allocated $350 billion to state, local and tribal governments, the Newsom administration vowed to hold talks with most state employee unions regarding pandemic bonuses once the US Treasury Department finalizes the guidelines, which were released this year.

The final guidelines underscored that government employees are entitled to additional pay in the event of a pandemic, which launched formal discussions between Newsom’s administration and unions, which argued that many public safety employees had to put themselves at risk by working during the pandemic.

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