CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said that California had given out unearned leave to nearly 200,000 state workers. The article has been corrected to show that the state gave out nearly 200,000 hours of unearned leave to state workers. Capital Public Radio regrets the error.
A new state Auditor’s report says that accounting errors at California agencies led to nearly state employees being paid nearly 200,000 hours of unearned leave worth in excess of $6 million.
Margarita Fernández with the state Auditor’s office says there are automated accounting systems that can recognize when hours have been inappropriately entered into an agency’s payroll system.
She says such systems should have been in place to help catch and correct human errors that resulted in millions of dollars in overpayments.
“Some of them could have been prevented with automated control so that you don’t give that employee twice as much, or 800 hours versus eight hours,” says Fernández.
The report says erroneous holiday pay accounted for most of the over-payments. The state has three years to try to recover the losses.
The California Department of Human Resources says it has begun an internal audit of the state agency leave and scheduling policies, as suggested in the auditor’s report. CalHR says it will work with employee unions to have new procedures in place by January.