California to pay $1,500 pandemic bonuses to state law enforcement officers

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A California Highway Patrol vehicle is parked outside the state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022. California Attorney General Rob Bonta says 54 current and former Highway Patrol Officers have been charge with racking up more than $226,000 in phony hours in an overtime fraud scheme. The charges, announced Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, set from a criminal investigation of offices in the East Lost Angeles station. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
California will distribute bonuses to public safety workers including California Highway Patrol officers, state correctional officers and park rangers. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

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

According to the agreements posted Friday, the state will distribute bonuses to public safety workers including California Highway Patrol officers, state correctional officers and park rangers.

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

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

"Once again, I am pleased to see that this administration understands the value of the services all of the classifications in Unit 7 provide," California Statewide Law Enforcement Assn. President Alan Barcelona said in a news release. "This expands upon the benefits we were able to negotiate during the pandemic."

Workers must have been employed by the state as of Jan. 1, and continue their employment through July 1 to be eligible. The bonuses are a one-time payment that will not count toward compensation for retirement, the agreement letters said.

The California Statewide Law Enforcement Assn. also noted that workers will receive the bonus regardless of whether they worked in person or remotely, and that employees should expect to receive the payments in 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 promised to hold talks with most state employee unions regarding pandemic bonuses once the U.S. Treasury Department finalized the guidelines, which were published this year.

The final guidelines outlined that government employees are eligible for extra pandemic pay, jump-starting formal discussions between Newsom's administration and the unions, which argued that many public safety employees had to put themselves at risk by working through the pandemic.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.