Two and a half months after Pennsylvania’s budget was signed into law, eight state agencies are laying off employees. Most departments suffered budget cuts this year, and Governor Ed Rendell had predicted hundreds of layoffs.
However, due mostly to higher-than-usual retirement rates, only fifty state workers are being let go this week.
Office of Administration spokesman Dan Egan says notices went out Monday, but due to seniority and union “bumping rights,” the specific workers losing their jobs might not be known until weeks’ end.
"If they do, it goes to the next employee, who may or may not have a bump, and so on and so forth. So in order for all the furlough notices to go out on – happen by Friday, some need to occur earlier in the week. Which is why we need to announce as early as Monday. To allow for that bumping process."
The cuts come from the Department of Corrections, Education, Health, and Military and Veterans Affairs, as well as other agencies.
The Department of Agriculture, Education and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency also lost workers. Egan says departments had the last few months to figure out their approach.
"They are left to determine how they want to go about absorbing those cuts. Whether they want to reduce programs, reduce staff, try and reduce their operating costs. So those decisions are made in each agency, on how they’re going to absorb their budget cuts. And in some cases, those decisions resulted in individuals being furloughed from the agency."
Friday will be the last day on the job for most of the workers, who will be given up to ten days of paid leave.