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Thanks to PEF’s persistence, the State will begin paying more than 1,700 current and former members of the Professional, Scientific and Technical bargaining unit for overtime work on certain COVID-19 preparedness and response projects.  

“This is a major win that only happened because PEF led the way,” said President Wayne Spence. 

The union initiated a claim for the money in June 2020 when members alerted PEF that they didn’t think they were being sufficiently paid for overtime they worked during the ongoing state of emergency. The primary challenge was that the State underpaid overtime wages. Instead of paying one-and-one-half times an employees’ regular rate of pay, some employees were paid a lesser, blended rate for their overtime.  

More than three years later, due to PEF’s efforts, the State will pay nearly $3 million to more than 1,700 PEF members who worked processing unemployment insurance claims at the Department of Labor, as well as members at other agencies who worked on additional Department of Health COVID-19-related preparedness and response projects. The payments include the underpayment to make each member whole for the work they performed, as well as interest that accrued on that money, calculated at 9% annually. More than 400 CSEA employees will also receive back overtime.

“I’d like to thank the PEF General Counsel’s office and PEF Contract Administration for their persistence on this issue,” said President Spence. “It is a great example of the value of unions. Members brought it to our attention, we acted on their behalf, and now civil servants across the State, who sacrificed so much to serve their fellow New Yorkers during the pandemic, will benefit because of PEF’s leadership.” 


Albany Times Union: COVID pay due to state workers (link downloads a PDF) 


Covered employees on the State’s Administrative Payroll who were overtime-eligible when they performed the work received payments in their paycheck on December 20. Employees on the Institution Payroll will receive theirs on December 28, 2023. 

The State paid or will pay the principal amount owed to each employee on those pay dates. The interest on the money owed is still being calculated and should be paid in January 2024. The State is also in the process of calculating the principal and interest amounts owed to approximately 270 overtime-ineligible current and former members of the PS&T unit. PEF anticipates those payments will be made in early 2024. 

PEF is sending letters in the mail to each person receiving payments containing their pay information and the data the State used to calculate their payment. Members who wish to dispute the amount should reach out to their PEF field representative as soon as possible, after they have received their payments and the mailing from PEF. If you don’t know who that is, call your regional office and they can assist.