Author Topic: State job (California) - pay and benefits  (Read 3528 times)

jeromedawg

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State job (California) - pay and benefits
« on: April 06, 2021, 06:14:27 PM »
Hi all,

I've been applying for various state jobs in CA and was trying to figure out how to 'correctly' compare with my current position regarding benefits and what not. There's a position I'm interviewing for this Thursday which, on paper according to the monthly schedules they've posted, would pay 25%~ less than my current gross pay in the best case scenario (in the case that I am offered the position, that being that I actually qualify for the top end of the classification tier).

However, I realize benefits may be very different in terms of state vs private sector (I work for a large bank currently). Anyone currently work (or used to work) for the state or CA state in particular who can provide some insight? I know pensions are a thing, but does this mean most people won't contribute to 401ks? It's all foreign to me so just trying to think through and navigate all this as a I pursue more 'stability' hahaha

I figure, at a baseline in terms of experience and what not, state pay is just not going to be the same as private sector so sort of expecting a pay cut but wanted to find out from anyone here who has worked in or transitioned to working for the state.


jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2021, 07:45:23 PM »
The other dilemma I have, knowing that I may have to take a paycut going to the state, is if it really makes sense to leave the higher-paying (but presumably unstable) job solely for the intention of getting a state job with the 'promise' of more job stability?

Current job situation: company *feels* like it's a sinking ship - nothing about my immediate job is miserable and though the work itself is somewhat boring, it's easy work, there's a lot of flexibility and benefits are good.

They switched up our teams last year during a re-org and I'm not too fond of the current manager - there are times where her leadership and direction are highly questionable (or just plain absent) but I just try to keep my head down and do what's asked of me. I don't feel that "desperation" to leave because putting up with that is OK for the pay and benefits.
I believe that if I were to be laid off, I would get severance of 2 weeks per year of service (basically 10 weeks/2.5 months of pay). I think our department is generally at lower risk of immediate lay-offs but they've been doing a good amount of restructuring and title changing, and there are a lot of rumors circling about how anyone with "QA" in their title is going to be at greater risk soon (I don't know how much of this to believe... it's thelayoff.com).

I can understand leaving this job to move over to something with higher pay but I'm really starting to question what I'm worth and wondering if I'm really worth what they're paying me (the company I work for has a reputation for 'overpaying' in that regard...of course I didn't realize it back when I joined but it seems more people are hinting this). Without me moving into some sort of management position or full-on getting into software engineering at high levels, I don't think I can really make any more of an upward move. The position with the state that I'm interviewing for would be sort of 'picking up where I left off" in terms of security experience, but it has been *years* since I've been in that field directly. There's also a 24x7 on-call rotation and I think it might be no more than a couple others on the immediate team...not a huge fan of being on-call with that few of teammates to share the load.

Should I just stay put, expecting a layoff, and *milk* it to the very end (there is a risk of things becoming even 'worse' with the current management but so far it's been quiet and I'm also somewhat 'shielded' being heavily involved and vested in the work that I've always been doing which is under my prior manager's direction)

I should also mention the current job is 100% WFH. The state job may or may not be WFH but I was applying *hoping* there would be the chance of that without any requirement to relocate. If there is a relocation requirement (either soon or 'eventually' then I probably will just pass)

« Last Edit: April 06, 2021, 08:00:08 PM by jeromedawg »

john c

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2021, 12:12:06 AM »
Generally, CA state jobs pay very little, at least at the beginning.  As you go higher in the salary steps, and higher in the grades, then the salaries, in my opinion, are too high for the work demanded, considering the 40 hour week and vacation amounts.  Basically, I think that, in 2021, $60k for a starting accountant is too low, but $140k for an accounting manager is too high, considering the work week is a flat 40 hours (no overtime) and 6 weeks vacation.  An accounting manager in the private sector making $140k would work WAY more than 40 hours per week, and not get 6 weeks vacation.  The salaries in question are for local CA governments; the state pays less, so your situation may be different.

Also, you are exempt from Social Security, so you'll save that amount from your paycheck.  Depending on the agency, you may a similar amount into the retirement plan.  To the degree that Calpers stays solvent, the state retirements are fantastic.  Further, you should be eligible for retiree healthcare at minimal cost.

Overall, if you're only taking a 25% pay cut, you're most likely to be way ahead of your current compensation, considering the benefits.  My wife gets crazy, gold-plated Kaiser plan ($10 copays, cheap prescriptions) through Calpers.  It won't cost you much.  Also, you may get 2.4% of your salary for each year of service in retirement.  This can be substantially more than Social Security, which you would have already from years of working regular jobs.

A downside, as you mention, is that the state is old-school with respect to working conditions.  Absent Covid, it's butts-in-seats from 8 AM to 5 PM, unless you're vouching PTO.  So you'll have to vouch 2 hours of PTO to go see the doctor.  On the other hand, you can expect the option to work a 9-80 shift, or go to 32 or 24 hours per week, but keep full benefits. 

Depending on your age, the stability of state employment can be a big benefit.  Ageism is real, and if you're pushing 50 you're likely to face serious unemployment, which isn't a factor in government.  A lot of government workers switch from the private sector as they get older, and start to hit ageism.


Ants

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2021, 10:25:18 AM »
I just started with the State a month ago after 10+ years with the Feds. I'm an engineer and am now making more than I was but probably about where I would be with the private sector. I'm honestly figuring out some of the benefits (they are based on your bargaining unit and its confusing as hell) but still but wanted to correct the previous poster. I do pay social security, I'm not sure if that is everyone but I do. I'm not in love with the pension requirement but do get a 401k and a 457 so that should help. And I don't see myself working any 60 hour weeks which certainly is an an advantage of government work.

My experience has been there are always some government openings and not terribly competitive unless there is a recession. Maybe don't accept this position but keep watching incase layoffs become more imminent. I will also add it took 4 months from my unofficial offer to get the official one because they had to sign off on my higher salary. Be prepared to deal with bureaucracy.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2021, 10:56:08 AM »
I just started with the State a month ago after 10+ years with the Feds. I'm an engineer and am now making more than I was but probably about where I would be with the private sector. I'm honestly figuring out some of the benefits (they are based on your bargaining unit and its confusing as hell) but still but wanted to correct the previous poster. I do pay social security, I'm not sure if that is everyone but I do. I'm not in love with the pension requirement but do get a 401k and a 457 so that should help. And I don't see myself working any 60 hour weeks which certainly is an an advantage of government work.

My experience has been there are always some government openings and not terribly competitive unless there is a recession. Maybe don't accept this position but keep watching incase layoffs become more imminent. I will also add it took 4 months from my unofficial offer to get the official one because they had to sign off on my higher salary. Be prepared to deal with bureaucracy.

Thanks for the insight. Yea, I've heard pension is kinda meh - that's not something I'd be working for. I'm just wanting the stability and no drama.

If you were in my shoes, would you change your mind about leaving IF:
1) the company has garnered a horrible reputation in the past several years and it's trickling down to you (e.g. some prospective hiring managers/recruiters might look at your resume and pass it up because of the poor reputation of the company - I would think this is illegal but how can it be proven anyway?)
2) your current manager provides little to no direction, defers everything back to the team (including things she should be doing as a leader/manager), is passive aggressive if you don't do what she wants and projects on her team, and plays favorites?

In my mind, the lay-offs seem pretty imminent. My brother works in another division and has been telling me that ppl are getting laid of left and right over there. He has been looking aggressively, and advising I do the same. He has been with the company forever and actually was laid off in 2008/2009 and jobless for a couple years before getting rehired back in (by the same manager... no issues with his manager but the lay-offs originated from a higher level which makes sense)

moonpalace

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2021, 11:41:07 AM »
I've worked in state government (not CA) for about 13 years. Just wanted to highlight one other issue worth considering. Many state pension funds are not doing well, and often the discussions around getting them onto firmer financial footing involve reducing benefits and/or increasing contributions by those who are not close to retirement. So what you think you're signing up for may not be what you get in 10-30 years.

So I would encourage you to look into whether there is a defined-contribution option (like a 401k but called a 403b). In many states the employer match is quite generous (e.g. in my state I put in 3% of salary and the state puts in 7%) and it is at least worth considering whether the defined-contribution plus deferred-compensation (457 plan) would leave you better off and with more freedom than a pension.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2021, 11:58:26 AM »
Generally, CA state jobs pay very little, at least at the beginning.  As you go higher in the salary steps, and higher in the grades, then the salaries, in my opinion, are too high for the work demanded, considering the 40 hour week and vacation amounts.  Basically, I think that, in 2021, $60k for a starting accountant is too low, but $140k for an accounting manager is too high, considering the work week is a flat 40 hours (no overtime) and 6 weeks vacation.  An accounting manager in the private sector making $140k would work WAY more than 40 hours per week, and not get 6 weeks vacation.  The salaries in question are for local CA governments; the state pays less, so your situation may be different.

Also, you are exempt from Social Security, so you'll save that amount from your paycheck.  Depending on the agency, you may a similar amount into the retirement plan.  To the degree that Calpers stays solvent, the state retirements are fantastic.  Further, you should be eligible for retiree healthcare at minimal cost.

Overall, if you're only taking a 25% pay cut, you're most likely to be way ahead of your current compensation, considering the benefits.  My wife gets crazy, gold-plated Kaiser plan ($10 copays, cheap prescriptions) through Calpers.  It won't cost you much.  Also, you may get 2.4% of your salary for each year of service in retirement.  This can be substantially more than Social Security, which you would have already from years of working regular jobs.

A downside, as you mention, is that the state is old-school with respect to working conditions.  Absent Covid, it's butts-in-seats from 8 AM to 5 PM, unless you're vouching PTO.  So you'll have to vouch 2 hours of PTO to go see the doctor.  On the other hand, you can expect the option to work a 9-80 shift, or go to 32 or 24 hours per week, but keep full benefits. 

Depending on your age, the stability of state employment can be a big benefit.  Ageism is real, and if you're pushing 50 you're likely to face serious unemployment, which isn't a factor in government.  A lot of government workers switch from the private sector as they get older, and start to hit ageism.


Thanks! If you don't mind me asking, what do you pay for the "gold-plated" Kaiser plan? I'm assuming that's the top of line PPO? Do they offer HSA too?

I'm not clear about the Social Security exemption - can you explain that more?

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2021, 12:02:11 PM »
I've worked in state government (not CA) for about 13 years. Just wanted to highlight one other issue worth considering. Many state pension funds are not doing well, and often the discussions around getting them onto firmer financial footing involve reducing benefits and/or increasing contributions by those who are not close to retirement. So what you think you're signing up for may not be what you get in 10-30 years.

So I would encourage you to look into whether there is a defined-contribution option (like a 401k but called a 403b). In many states the employer match is quite generous (e.g. in my state I put in 3% of salary and the state puts in 7%) and it is at least worth considering whether the defined-contribution plus deferred-compensation (457 plan) would leave you better off and with more freedom than a pension.

Thanks for the heads-up. I think I've heard CalPers is pretty good at least right now. The thing is though, pension is not something I'd be riding on - to me it's more icing on the cake. We've saved up quite a bit in our stache and I'm sort of looking at this going into the state as a Coast or Barista FIRE type of situation (which someone else had briefly suggested in another thread).

I don't know what, if any, the match is for contributions. I didn't think there were any matches but I don't know enough. This 403b, 457, etc stuff is beyond me at this point - I don't know what any of the differences are haha. All I know are 401ks, Roth IRAs, and Traditional IRAs. Guess I should read up on the other stuff a bit.

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/111615/457-plans-and-403b-plans-comparison.asp
It says: "A 403(b) plan is typically offered to employees of private nonprofits and government workers, including public school employees."

So I don't think that position would have a 403b. I think it has a 457 if anything
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 12:04:34 PM by jeromedawg »

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2021, 12:35:50 PM »
CalPERS pension contributions will take about 8-9% of your pay. Contributions accrue a fairly healthy interest rate if you cash out instead of taking the pension. I view my pension contributions as mostly replacing any bond allocation I might otherwise feel I need in my allocation (only problem is there is no opportunity to rebalance). Vesting for the pension system is 5 years. Pension payment is calculated based on "final" salary, years of service, age when starting the pension, and options chosen for survivor/beneficiary. A pension can be started as early as age 50. The state's only contribution towards retirement comes in the form of pension payments that go beyond contributions and the state's share of benefits for retirees. Participation in the pension plan is required. SavingsPlus administers the 401k and 457b plans, there is no state match.

None of the health plans qualify for a HSA. There are a few PPO plans and several HMO plans. The HMO plans are all fairly similar to each other with fairly comprehensive, low copay coverage (primary difference between the various HMO plans is provider network). My portion of the premium for the Kaiser plan for two is about $300. If you retire (start your pension) immediately after separating from employment and have at least 10 years of service, you qualify for some medical benefit in retirement (prorated portion of benefit provided to active employees if less than 20 years of service).

You can find most of the details about the pension plan and health plans on CalPERS website. I believe most new state employees would be under the "State Miscellaneous & Industrial Members — 2% at 62" pension plan. Of course if you do get an offer, the HR department of your prospective employer should also be able to provide details.

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2021, 12:49:07 PM »
Thanks! If you don't mind me asking, what do you pay for the "gold-plated" Kaiser plan? I'm assuming that's the top of line PPO? Do they offer HSA too?
Kaiser is one of the HMO providers. It usually is one of the cheapest HMO plans availible to me. "Gold-plated" is how I've heard Kaiser employees refer to the state plan (I'm assuming it is the best plan offered by Kaiser). As far as I can tell all the HMO plans offered by CalPERS have similar coverage/copays. CalPERS also offers PPO plans in three tiers. When I started with the state, I chose the cheapest PPO plan. One year a provider offered a cheap HMO plan that was cheaper than the cheapest PPO, so I took it. I lucked out - I had emergency surgery that year and paid nothing out of pocket. That plan got cancelled, so I switched to Kaiser (I grew up in a state worker household on Kaiser, so I was pretty familiar with the Kaiser system).

spartana

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2021, 12:51:53 PM »
I worked for a Cal State agency that earned me a Public Safety CalPERS pension - which I could begin collecting at age 50 with 5 years to vest - even though I FIREd approx 10 years before old enough. Left my contributions and employers matching contributions in the pension system rather than take a  lump sum. Plus also did a "service credit buy back" of some of my military time to add to the pension time.  The public safety pension is much better then the regular CalPERS pension as it requires fewer years on the job (but it was a 24/7 mega hours job but with O.T.) and is usually for firefighters, LEO's and the sort who often retire early.

Other depts or agencies within the CalPERs system have different vesting times, as well as age to begin taking it and other various things such as amount you can get 2% at 55, 3% at 50, 2.5% at 60, etc). Several years ago the whole pension system changed for new hires so you'd likely be required to work longer, contribute more into the pension and for both current and future (retiree) medical benefits. So check out which system you'd be in and what those individual requirements are. Some offer 401ks and 403b etc but mine only offered a 457 without matching. Plus many now require you to pay into SS as well as your pension but you'll be able to collect both.

So bottom line is...it depends. I liked the pension system but CalPERS WAS in deep doo doo for a long time and they can cut benefits if needed. The benefits though are great and for me (who didn't have a private sector equivilant field) it was worth the trade off. I wouldn't count on not working O.T. - like I said I did massive amounts including every weekend all holidays (24/7 operation) and as a new hire you likely will get the standard 2 weeks vacation time not 6 weeks someone mentioned above. But all the other benefits are great.

@robartsd explained it much better than me. My understanding was that there is (or was) a guareentee 6% tax deferred interest added annually to your share of pension ccontributions that you'll get if you take a lump sum once you quit rather then an annuity. And, like me, if you leave the state job before you are old enough to start collecting at 50 or latter (and you're vested) you can just leave it in and it will continue to earn 6% interest even if you no longer add to it. A lot of this will depend if your job is part of a union (if any) and what type of bargaining agreement they have with the state.

Just looked at this site and it explains the basics pretty well. Looks like new hires have to wait 3 extra years (53 instead of 50) to be able to collect benefits.  Full benefits begin at various ages depending on your agency. https://www.calpers.ca.gov/page/employers/benefit-programs/retirement-benefits
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 01:25:26 PM by spartana »

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2021, 01:41:09 PM »
I wouldn't count on not working O.T. - like I said I did massive amounts including every weekend all holidays (24/7 operation) and as a new hire you likely will get the standard 2 weeks vacation time not 6 weeks someone mentioned above.

Weren't you mentioning earlier though that OT is on a dept-by-dept basis and if you're in public safety it seems this is more of a thing? The department I'm in is digital services for child welfare. They do have a 24x7 on-call rotation but I believe this is to respond to computer security incidents/issues and such. It doesn't *sound* super demanding but I guess I'll find out more tomorrow.

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2021, 03:29:46 PM »
I'm a state office worker "represented" by SEIU. Employees represented by other unions might have slightly different details.

Generally new state employees get 7 hours of vacation + 8 hour of sick leave each month (~2 weeks/year). After a few years the vacation gets bumped up to 10 hours per month (~3 weeks/year) then gradually rises to a max around 15 hours per month (~4 weeks/year). You can also opt for annual leave that replaces the 8 hours of sick leave with 4 additional hours of vacation.

Generally each classification has a range for salary. Employees usually start at the minimum for their classification and get a 5% increase (referred to as a merit salary adjustment) each year on the anniversary of their hire until reaching the maximum. All employees also get a general salary adjustment when the unions negotiate cost of living raises (typically in July). Our previously negotiated 2020 and 2021 general salary adjustments were postponed due to COVID. We also were given a pay cut (compensated with leave credits). I've heard rumors that this will end June this year (originally negotiated through Jun 2022); I'm not sure if that might mean our general salary adjustments might be applied before July 2022 or not. A few years ago the state started a new deduction (about 2.5% of pay) from our paychecks for "Other Post Employment Benefits". This is to shore up medical benefits for retirees, but unlike the pension contribution, if you don't end up retiring with medical benefits, you're SOL. This was suspended to ease the burden of the COVID pay cuts and along with other adjustments meant that take home pay didn't get changed all that much.

Other depts or agencies within the CalPERs system have different vesting times, as well as age to begin taking it and other various things such as amount you can get 2% at 55, 3% at 50, 2.5% at 60, etc). Several years ago the whole pension system changed for new hires so you'd likely be required to work longer, contribute more into the pension and for both current and future (retiree) medical benefits. So check out which system you'd be in and what those individual requirements are. Some offer 401ks and 403b etc but mine only offered a 457 without matching. Plus many now require you to pay into SS as well as your pension but you'll be able to collect both.
Yes, I'm in the situation where I pay into both SS and CalPERS. I believe this is the situation for most state office workers. The primary change that I'm aware of to the pension for newer employees vs. employees grandfathered into older plans is the how years of service and age at retirement affect pension payment. I think most state office workers used to be in the 2% at 55 plan (meaning the basic pension benefit was 2% of final salary for each year of service if you retired at age 55). I'm covered by 2% at 60. I believe new hires today are covered by 2% at 62. I believe everyone in the same bargaining unit contributes the same portion of their paychecks to the pension. Nearly all CalPERS plans require 5 years of service to vest and a minimum age of 50 to draw a pension; but the different plans have different contribution rates and formulas for calculating pension amount.

Weren't you mentioning earlier though that OT is on a dept-by-dept basis and if you're in public safety it seems this is more of a thing? The department I'm in is digital services for child welfare. They do have a 24x7 on-call rotation but I believe this is to respond to computer security incidents/issues and such. It doesn't *sound* super demanding but I guess I'll find out more tomorrow.
For most state office workers, overtime is rare (almost unheard of). Your on-call rotation sounds like you might occasionally catch some.

Ants

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2021, 03:35:27 PM »
I just started with the State a month ago after 10+ years with the Feds. I'm an engineer and am now making more than I was but probably about where I would be with the private sector. I'm honestly figuring out some of the benefits (they are based on your bargaining unit and its confusing as hell) but still but wanted to correct the previous poster. I do pay social security, I'm not sure if that is everyone but I do. I'm not in love with the pension requirement but do get a 401k and a 457 so that should help. And I don't see myself working any 60 hour weeks which certainly is an an advantage of government work.

My experience has been there are always some government openings and not terribly competitive unless there is a recession. Maybe don't accept this position but keep watching incase layoffs become more imminent. I will also add it took 4 months from my unofficial offer to get the official one because they had to sign off on my higher salary. Be prepared to deal with bureaucracy.

Thanks for the insight. Yea, I've heard pension is kinda meh - that's not something I'd be working for. I'm just wanting the stability and no drama.

If you were in my shoes, would you change your mind about leaving IF:
1) the company has garnered a horrible reputation in the past several years and it's trickling down to you (e.g. some prospective hiring managers/recruiters might look at your resume and pass it up because of the poor reputation of the company - I would think this is illegal but how can it be proven anyway?)
2) your current manager provides little to no direction, defers everything back to the team (including things she should be doing as a leader/manager), is passive aggressive if you don't do what she wants and projects on her team, and plays favorites?

In my mind, the lay-offs seem pretty imminent. My brother works in another division and has been telling me that ppl are getting laid of left and right over there. He has been looking aggressively, and advising I do the same. He has been with the company forever and actually was laid off in 2008/2009 and jobless for a couple years before getting rehired back in (by the same manager... no issues with his manager but the lay-offs originated from a higher level which makes sense)

I'm just some dude on the internet but in your situation I would start lining up other options whether that is with the State or somewhere else. Take the job and if you don't like it start looking for work elsewhere.

doggyfizzle

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2021, 04:00:15 PM »
All new hires into CalPERS (since PEPRA took effect in 2013) are classified at 2% at 62 (with the exception of "safety" personnel).  OP, I'm guessing you're not a safety classified employee, unless you're running physical bank security and will be moving into a similar role with the State. However, the new CalPERS plan paired with a 457 is - IMO - are the promised land of early retirement.  Unlike 403b and 401k plans, 457 money can be withdrawn penalty-free pre age 59 1/2, but withdrawals are taxed at ordinary income levels.  Plus, the new PEPRA CalPERS plans allow a 1%/year "reduced" annuity to be drawn at 52, rather than 62, or 1.5%/year at 57.  My wife works for municipal entity in CA, and our plan is for her to bail at 52 and draw the 1% pension plus SWR from her 457.  Based on what she has in the plan now, plus projecting max contributions for 17 years, she will end up at 100% replacement of post-tax, post-tax deferred salary at 52.  Not all agencies qualify for retiree health, so I'd look into that as well.  After the 2020 election, however, and the actions the Biden Administration has taken to support Obamacare, I'd anticipate fairly reliable access to medical insurance through Covered California to continue for the foreseeable future.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2021, 04:06:37 PM »
I'm a state office worker "represented" by SEIU. Employees represented by other unions might have slightly different details.

Generally new state employees get 7 hours of vacation + 8 hour of sick leave each month (~2 weeks/year). After a few years the vacation gets bumped up to 10 hours per month (~3 weeks/year) then gradually rises to a max around 15 hours per month (~4 weeks/year). You can also opt for annual leave that replaces the 8 hours of sick leave with 4 additional hours of vacation.

Generally each classification has a range for salary. Employees usually start at the minimum for their classification and get a 5% increase (referred to as a merit salary adjustment) each year on the anniversary of their hire until reaching the maximum. All employees also get a general salary adjustment when the unions negotiate cost of living raises (typically in July). Our previously negotiated 2020 and 2021 general salary adjustments were postponed due to COVID. We also were given a pay cut (compensated with leave credits). I've heard rumors that this will end June this year (originally negotiated through Jun 2022); I'm not sure if that might mean our general salary adjustments might be applied before July 2022 or not. A few years ago the state started a new deduction (about 2.5% of pay) from our paychecks for "Other Post Employment Benefits". This is to shore up medical benefits for retirees, but unlike the pension contribution, if you don't end up retiring with medical benefits, you're SOL. This was suspended to ease the burden of the COVID pay cuts and along with other adjustments meant that take home pay didn't get changed all that much.

Other depts or agencies within the CalPERs system have different vesting times, as well as age to begin taking it and other various things such as amount you can get 2% at 55, 3% at 50, 2.5% at 60, etc). Several years ago the whole pension system changed for new hires so you'd likely be required to work longer, contribute more into the pension and for both current and future (retiree) medical benefits. So check out which system you'd be in and what those individual requirements are. Some offer 401ks and 403b etc but mine only offered a 457 without matching. Plus many now require you to pay into SS as well as your pension but you'll be able to collect both.
Yes, I'm in the situation where I pay into both SS and CalPERS. I believe this is the situation for most state office workers. The primary change that I'm aware of to the pension for newer employees vs. employees grandfathered into older plans is the how years of service and age at retirement affect pension payment. I think most state office workers used to be in the 2% at 55 plan (meaning the basic pension benefit was 2% of final salary for each year of service if you retired at age 55). I'm covered by 2% at 60. I believe new hires today are covered by 2% at 62. I believe everyone in the same bargaining unit contributes the same portion of their paychecks to the pension. Nearly all CalPERS plans require 5 years of service to vest and a minimum age of 50 to draw a pension; but the different plans have different contribution rates and formulas for calculating pension amount.

Weren't you mentioning earlier though that OT is on a dept-by-dept basis and if you're in public safety it seems this is more of a thing? The department I'm in is digital services for child welfare. They do have a 24x7 on-call rotation but I believe this is to respond to computer security incidents/issues and such. It doesn't *sound* super demanding but I guess I'll find out more tomorrow.
For most state office workers, overtime is rare (almost unheard of). Your on-call rotation sounds like you might occasionally catch some.

This position notes:
"The salary reduction is effective July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2022, SEIU collective bargaining employees. Employees will accrue two days of personal leave credit (equivalent to two days’ pay). per month." so I guess I'm part of the same?

My PTO is pretty nuts - I think I've hit my accrual cap which is like 240 hours. Each month I have to take at least 1-2 days off so I stay under the accrual cap. But yea I basically have had a rolling 30 days of PTO for the past couple years, give or take.

The other thing about this position I noticed is that it's based out of Sacramento. That said, do state jobs account for cost of living at all? Or are there no such "adjustments" other than finding a 'local' state job in your area? I'm not sure it would be such a great idea to take a paycut into a "flat" tier of pay in my current area as it's HCOL/VHCOL.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2021, 04:09:27 PM »
I just started with the State a month ago after 10+ years with the Feds. I'm an engineer and am now making more than I was but probably about where I would be with the private sector. I'm honestly figuring out some of the benefits (they are based on your bargaining unit and its confusing as hell) but still but wanted to correct the previous poster. I do pay social security, I'm not sure if that is everyone but I do. I'm not in love with the pension requirement but do get a 401k and a 457 so that should help. And I don't see myself working any 60 hour weeks which certainly is an an advantage of government work.

My experience has been there are always some government openings and not terribly competitive unless there is a recession. Maybe don't accept this position but keep watching incase layoffs become more imminent. I will also add it took 4 months from my unofficial offer to get the official one because they had to sign off on my higher salary. Be prepared to deal with bureaucracy.

Thanks for the insight. Yea, I've heard pension is kinda meh - that's not something I'd be working for. I'm just wanting the stability and no drama.

If you were in my shoes, would you change your mind about leaving IF:
1) the company has garnered a horrible reputation in the past several years and it's trickling down to you (e.g. some prospective hiring managers/recruiters might look at your resume and pass it up because of the poor reputation of the company - I would think this is illegal but how can it be proven anyway?)
2) your current manager provides little to no direction, defers everything back to the team (including things she should be doing as a leader/manager), is passive aggressive if you don't do what she wants and projects on her team, and plays favorites?

In my mind, the lay-offs seem pretty imminent. My brother works in another division and has been telling me that ppl are getting laid of left and right over there. He has been looking aggressively, and advising I do the same. He has been with the company forever and actually was laid off in 2008/2009 and jobless for a couple years before getting rehired back in (by the same manager... no issues with his manager but the lay-offs originated from a higher level which makes sense)

I'm just some dude on the internet but in your situation I would start lining up other options whether that is with the State or somewhere else. Take the job and if you don't like it start looking for work elsewhere.

I've been applying but the responses are staggered. Most of my applications are getting rejected so this is the only one that has come through thus far. I have more applications out there (including some I submitted in the past several days) but no reply. If the interview actually goes well tomorrow (I'm trying to set my expectations low) and I get an offer are you saying just to jump on it?

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2021, 04:12:37 PM »
All new hires into CalPERS (since PEPRA took effect in 2013) are classified at 2% at 62 (with the exception of "safety" personnel).  OP, I'm guessing you're not a safety classified employee, unless you're running physical bank security and will be moving into a similar role with the State. However, the new CalPERS plan paired with a 457 is - IMO - are the promised land of early retirement.  Unlike 403b and 401k plans, 457 money can be withdrawn penalty-free pre age 59 1/2, but withdrawals are taxed at ordinary income levels.  Plus, the new PEPRA CalPERS plans allow a 1%/year "reduced" annuity to be drawn at 52, rather than 62, or 1.5%/year at 57.  My wife works for municipal entity in CA, and our plan is for her to bail at 52 and draw the 1% pension plus SWR from her 457.  Based on what she has in the plan now, plus projecting max contributions for 17 years, she will end up at 100% replacement of post-tax, post-tax deferred salary at 52.  Not all agencies qualify for retiree health, so I'd look into that as well.  After the 2020 election, however, and the actions the Biden Administration has taken to support Obamacare, I'd anticipate fairly reliable access to medical insurance through Covered California to continue for the foreseeable future.

My friend who is a state employee said the same thing about the 457 in that you can withdraw earlier. So "PEPRA" is the new pension plan and in both cases (PEPRA and 457) you are contributing a certain amount/% from each paycheck? What percentage can or do you suggest contributing per month for each? Right now, I put in 15% of my salary towards the 401k to max it out. EDIT: ok looks like 457 is the same contribution limit as 401k at $19500. Are there fees for maintaining the 457?
I'm still cloudy on the PEPRA/CalPers Pension thing though - are you actually contributing to that on a monthly basis as well?
And where does Social Security fit into all this?
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 04:15:07 PM by jeromedawg »

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2021, 06:08:47 PM »
This position notes:
"The salary reduction is effective July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2022, SEIU collective bargaining employees. Employees will accrue two days of personal leave credit (equivalent to two days’ pay). per month." so I guess I'm part of the same?
Yep. The leave credits thus accrued must be used before other leave credits (other than sick leave), but they're basically used just the same as vacation/annual leave.

My PTO is pretty nuts - I think I've hit my accrual cap which is like 240 hours. Each month I have to take at least 1-2 days off so I stay under the accrual cap. But yea I basically have had a rolling 30 days of PTO for the past couple years, give or take.
I don't think the state caps sick leave. Compensable leave credits are supposed to be capped at 640 hours (some agency don't do a good job at this - I think sometimes they have to cash out the excess if the employee switches to a different agency).

The other thing about this position I noticed is that it's based out of Sacramento. That said, do state jobs account for cost of living at all? Or are there no such "adjustments" other than finding a 'local' state job in your area? I'm not sure it would be such a great idea to take a paycut into a "flat" tier of pay in my current area as it's HCOL/VHCOL.
Some location do get a differential, but I think that would only apply if you have to physically report to a high cost of living/difficult to recruit area. If you're looking at a 100% remote position based out of Sacramento I don't think you'd qualify.

My friend who is a state employee said the same thing about the 457 in that you can withdraw earlier. So "PEPRA" is the new pension plan and in both cases (PEPRA and 457) you are contributing a certain amount/% from each paycheck? What percentage can or do you suggest contributing per month for each? Right now, I put in 15% of my salary towards the 401k to max it out. EDIT: ok looks like 457 is the same contribution limit as 401k at $19500. Are there fees for maintaining the 457?
I'm still cloudy on the PEPRA/CalPers Pension thing though - are you actually contributing to that on a monthly basis as well?
And where does Social Security fit into all this?
I believe the pension contribution is mandatory and is about 8-9% of salary. Another 2-3% of salary will be taken for Other Post Employment Benefits (once the COVID suspension of that is over).

SavingsPlus accounts are completely optional. Each savings plus plan has a $1.50/month fee. You'd have access to the 457 and 401(k) each with the IRS set limit of $19500.

I did run into an issue with SavingsPlus trying to max my contributions last year. SavingsPlus won't let you set a contribution tat would put you over the IRS limit if it applied from your next paycheck to the end of the year, but it is the second paycheck after you submit the change that actually sees the change (submit a change in April, it applies to pay for May, which is received on June 1st; but SavingsPlus calculates the limit as if the pay for April which is received on May 1st will also be at the new setting). I applied late and missed opening my account with my January paycheck, then changed my contribution several times over the year to get it closer to the max.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2021, 06:15:22 PM »
This position notes:
"The salary reduction is effective July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2022, SEIU collective bargaining employees. Employees will accrue two days of personal leave credit (equivalent to two days’ pay). per month." so I guess I'm part of the same?
Yep. The leave credits thus accrued must be used before other leave credits (other than sick leave), but they're basically used just the same as vacation/annual leave.

My PTO is pretty nuts - I think I've hit my accrual cap which is like 240 hours. Each month I have to take at least 1-2 days off so I stay under the accrual cap. But yea I basically have had a rolling 30 days of PTO for the past couple years, give or take.
I don't think the state caps sick leave. Compensable leave credits are supposed to be capped at 640 hours (some agency don't do a good job at this - I think sometimes they have to cash out the excess if the employee switches to a different agency).

The other thing about this position I noticed is that it's based out of Sacramento. That said, do state jobs account for cost of living at all? Or are there no such "adjustments" other than finding a 'local' state job in your area? I'm not sure it would be such a great idea to take a paycut into a "flat" tier of pay in my current area as it's HCOL/VHCOL.
Some location do get a differential, but I think that would only apply if you have to physically report to a high cost of living/difficult to recruit area. If you're looking at a 100% remote position based out of Sacramento I don't think you'd qualify.

My friend who is a state employee said the same thing about the 457 in that you can withdraw earlier. So "PEPRA" is the new pension plan and in both cases (PEPRA and 457) you are contributing a certain amount/% from each paycheck? What percentage can or do you suggest contributing per month for each? Right now, I put in 15% of my salary towards the 401k to max it out. EDIT: ok looks like 457 is the same contribution limit as 401k at $19500. Are there fees for maintaining the 457?
I'm still cloudy on the PEPRA/CalPers Pension thing though - are you actually contributing to that on a monthly basis as well?
And where does Social Security fit into all this?
I believe the pension contribution is mandatory and is about 8-9% of salary. Another 2-3% of salary will be taken for Other Post Employment Benefits (once the COVID suspension of that is over).

SavingsPlus accounts are completely optional. Each savings plus plan has a $1.50/month fee. You'd have access to the 457 and 401(k) each with the IRS set limit of $19500.

I did run into an issue with SavingsPlus trying to max my contributions last year. SavingsPlus won't let you set a contribution tat would put you over the IRS limit if it applied from your next paycheck to the end of the year, but it is the second paycheck after you submit the change that actually sees the change (submit a change in April, it applies to pay for May, which is received on June 1st; but SavingsPlus calculates the limit as if the pay for April which is received on May 1st will also be at the new setting). I applied late and missed opening my account with my January paycheck, then changed my contribution several times over the year to get it closer to the max.

Regarding the two days of vacation/pto per week, my friend who works for the state said you can accumulate these and not use them and have them count towards some sort of credit?

john c

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2021, 10:48:50 PM »
Thanks! If you don't mind me asking, what do you pay for the "gold-plated" Kaiser plan? I'm assuming that's the top of line PPO? Do they offer HSA too?

I'm not clear about the Social Security exemption - can you explain that more?

My wife works part time, so what we pay isn't representative of what you'd pay.  We pay $1000/month for a family of 4.  The total cost per year is $26k.  A full time employee would pay $400 or so per month.

Because state workers are in a government pension, they are (in this case) exempt from Social Security.  You don't pay in to Social Security, but you don't get Social Security credit for this time worked.  However, you'll receive Social Security for the time you worked outside of the Calpers system.  If you have worked for 10 total years, you'll receive the minimum Social Security benefit.

Social Security is kind of a bad deal for high earners, as a percent of income, so you're better off in Calpers.

john c

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2021, 10:50:32 PM »
Regarding the two days of vacation/pto per week, my friend who works for the state said you can accumulate these and not use them and have them count towards some sort of credit?

My understanding is yes, you can cash these in upon retirement or leaving state service.  They will be redeemed at your final salary.  This is effectively extra pay over your salary, though deferred.

john c

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2021, 10:54:16 PM »
I've been applying but the responses are staggered. Most of my applications are getting rejected so this is the only one that has come through thus far. I have more applications out there (including some I submitted in the past several days) but no reply. If the interview actually goes well tomorrow (I'm trying to set my expectations low) and I get an offer are you saying just to jump on it?

One thing is that current state employees get preference for hiring over outside candidates.  I have more experience at the local level, but often job postings are posted as "internal candidate only".

If you want to leave, jump on the offer.  You can lateral to another position later.  From what you've said about your current job/company, I'd get the hell out of there.

Another advantage to state service is that you can lateral to a LCOL area.  I'd avoid Bakersfield or other shitholes, but Crescent City or Susanville are beautiful and you'll keep the same pay.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2021, 11:04:33 PM »
I've been applying but the responses are staggered. Most of my applications are getting rejected so this is the only one that has come through thus far. I have more applications out there (including some I submitted in the past several days) but no reply. If the interview actually goes well tomorrow (I'm trying to set my expectations low) and I get an offer are you saying just to jump on it?

One thing is that current state employees get preference for hiring over outside candidates.  I have more experience at the local level, but often job postings are posted as "internal candidate only".

If you want to leave, jump on the offer.  You can lateral to another position later.  From what you've said about your current job/company, I'd get the hell out of there.

Another advantage to state service is that you can lateral to a LCOL area.  I'd avoid Bakersfield or other shitholes, but Crescent City or Susanville are beautiful and you'll keep the same pay.

Yea the idea of moving to a LCOL is great except we're trying to establish our roots in South OC primarily for the kids' education (Mandarin dual immersion program) and would strongly prefer to stay in the area. Unfortunately, it comes at the price of being a HCOL area :(

A couple naysayers elsewhere are warning not to do this or take the paycut because I'll be ruining my 'upward mobility' as far as pay grade moving forward....especially if I try to get back into the private sector (if for some reason I find that the state job just isn't cutting it, etc). The warning is that there's some kind of 'stigma' with state jobs where private sector job hiring managers and recruiters are biased and will either look over you or try to get you in and offer you much less than what you could get paid because they know you'll make the jump for less $$$.

BTW: regarding health benefits, my friend who works for the county sent me screenshots of what he "pays" - apparently he gets a waiver for around $2200-2300 each month and that goes towards whatever plan. He has Kaiser HMO which is $1700-1800, so he told me that the difference goes into his paycheck. Effectively, whatever you save on health insurance you just pocket. It sounds like this is the case regardless of whether you're county or state but I might be wrong.

EDIT: I just checked at http://eservices.calhr.ca.gov/BenefitsCalculatorExternal/BenefitCalculator.aspx - It looks like for Kaiser HMO/Delta Dental Basic/Vision it will cost $447 for a family (they don't specify how many so it seems like 3 or more and they don't increase the cost or state contribution amount. At my current company, for the same coverage I'm roughly paying around $420/mo AND I am able to contribute to an FSA and HSA. So unless I'm missing something, it seems the state health/dental/vision benefits actually aren't that great especially compared to county, where they give you a much more generous voucher.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2021, 12:47:51 AM by jeromedawg »

john c

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2021, 04:46:54 AM »

Yea the idea of moving to a LCOL is great except we're trying to establish our roots in South OC primarily for the kids' education (Mandarin dual immersion program) and would strongly prefer to stay in the area. Unfortunately, it comes at the price of being a HCOL area :(

A couple naysayers elsewhere are warning not to do this or take the paycut because I'll be ruining my 'upward mobility' as far as pay grade moving forward....especially if I try to get back into the private sector (if for some reason I find that the state job just isn't cutting it, etc). The warning is that there's some kind of 'stigma' with state jobs where private sector job hiring managers and recruiters are biased and will either look over you or try to get you in and offer you much less than what you could get paid because they know you'll make the jump for less $$$.

BTW: regarding health benefits, my friend who works for the county sent me screenshots of what he "pays" - apparently he gets a waiver for around $2200-2300 each month and that goes towards whatever plan. He has Kaiser HMO which is $1700-1800, so he told me that the difference goes into his paycheck. Effectively, whatever you save on health insurance you just pocket. It sounds like this is the case regardless of whether you're county or state but I might be wrong.

EDIT: I just checked at http://eservices.calhr.ca.gov/BenefitsCalculatorExternal/BenefitCalculator.aspx - It looks like for Kaiser HMO/Delta Dental Basic/Vision it will cost $447 for a family (they don't specify how many so it seems like 3 or more and they don't increase the cost or state contribution amount. At my current company, for the same coverage I'm roughly paying around $420/mo AND I am able to contribute to an FSA and HSA. So unless I'm missing something, it seems the state health/dental/vision benefits actually aren't that great especially compared to county, where they give you a much more generous voucher.

I don't doubt the stigma of working for the state is real.  On the flip side, government experience is a plus if you want to lateral to another agency at a city/county/state.  Also, as you get older, you'll get laid off and there will come a time when you won't be able to get another job.  This won't happen at the state.

It sounds like your company has really good benefits.  That's good.  But not typical.  Also, the state plans are actually much better, in terms of lower copays and more generous coverage amounts (MOOP, co-insurance, etc). 

 It's ultimately up to you as to what you do.  I wouldn't sweat it too much.  I never really liked working for corporate America, so I wouldn't miss it.  I also wouldn't care about burning bridges there, you'll open up new doors in government service.  If you get to your new job and hate it, you can leave your state job off your resume if you're only there for a year or so.

Like anything, there are pros and cons. 

spartana

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2021, 08:31:01 AM »
I wouldn't count on not working O.T. - like I said I did massive amounts including every weekend all holidays (24/7 operation) and as a new hire you likely will get the standard 2 weeks vacation time not 6 weeks someone mentioned above.

Weren't you mentioning earlier though that OT is on a dept-by-dept basis and if you're in public safety it seems this is more of a thing? The department I'm in is digital services for child welfare. They do have a 24x7 on-call rotation but I believe this is to respond to computer security incidents/issues and such. It doesn't *sound* super demanding but I guess I'll find out more tomorrow.
Yes it will depend on your agency but just wanted to say it is not uncommon for many public sector jobs. Of course getting O.T. pay or taking it as "comp time" is nice unlike salaried jobs.

As for a 457 plan - yes there are generally some fees to manage it but your employer may pay those. And yes you can take it at any age (lump sum or distributions) penalty free but will be taxed as normal income. It IS a great early retirement tool though.

As for paying into the pension, and whether you also pay into SS (most if not all new hires pay into SS now and you will pay Medicare taxes in either case) that will depend. Both will be a fixed amount (I paid 7% into my pension and my employer paid a matching 7%) and will be tax deferred until you start withdrawals or take it as a lump sum and be taxed as income then. However I do believe you can roll over your pension lump sum into an IRA but not sure.

You can also stay on the pension plan if you change your job but stay with a state agency within Calif. Or if, like me, you quit for a couple of years and then get re-hired back with the state. I left for 2 years to FIRE and travel (36 - 38) then they asked me to come back and I did for 4 years and went right back into the pension system and  my 457 until I quit again at 42. Then I left both sitting with the plan to take the pension at 50 and the 457 whenever. However I did not get retiree medical as I would have had to work much longer.

Also if you don't pay into SS with a state job and will get a pension, and have paid into SS from another job and will earn SS benefits,  your SS benefit will be reduced by the Feds Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). There is a formula for that and right now it the WEP would reduce any SS benefits you are entitled to by about $450 a month.

« Last Edit: April 08, 2021, 08:56:25 AM by spartana »

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2021, 09:49:14 AM »

Yea the idea of moving to a LCOL is great except we're trying to establish our roots in South OC primarily for the kids' education (Mandarin dual immersion program) and would strongly prefer to stay in the area. Unfortunately, it comes at the price of being a HCOL area :(

A couple naysayers elsewhere are warning not to do this or take the paycut because I'll be ruining my 'upward mobility' as far as pay grade moving forward....especially if I try to get back into the private sector (if for some reason I find that the state job just isn't cutting it, etc). The warning is that there's some kind of 'stigma' with state jobs where private sector job hiring managers and recruiters are biased and will either look over you or try to get you in and offer you much less than what you could get paid because they know you'll make the jump for less $$$.

BTW: regarding health benefits, my friend who works for the county sent me screenshots of what he "pays" - apparently he gets a waiver for around $2200-2300 each month and that goes towards whatever plan. He has Kaiser HMO which is $1700-1800, so he told me that the difference goes into his paycheck. Effectively, whatever you save on health insurance you just pocket. It sounds like this is the case regardless of whether you're county or state but I might be wrong.

EDIT: I just checked at http://eservices.calhr.ca.gov/BenefitsCalculatorExternal/BenefitCalculator.aspx - It looks like for Kaiser HMO/Delta Dental Basic/Vision it will cost $447 for a family (they don't specify how many so it seems like 3 or more and they don't increase the cost or state contribution amount. At my current company, for the same coverage I'm roughly paying around $420/mo AND I am able to contribute to an FSA and HSA. So unless I'm missing something, it seems the state health/dental/vision benefits actually aren't that great especially compared to county, where they give you a much more generous voucher.

I don't doubt the stigma of working for the state is real.  On the flip side, government experience is a plus if you want to lateral to another agency at a city/county/state.  Also, as you get older, you'll get laid off and there will come a time when you won't be able to get another job.  This won't happen at the state.

It sounds like your company has really good benefits.  That's good.  But not typical.  Also, the state plans are actually much better, in terms of lower copays and more generous coverage amounts (MOOP, co-insurance, etc). 

 It's ultimately up to you as to what you do.  I wouldn't sweat it too much.  I never really liked working for corporate America, so I wouldn't miss it.  I also wouldn't care about burning bridges there, you'll open up new doors in government service.  If you get to your new job and hate it, you can leave your state job off your resume if you're only there for a year or so.

Like anything, there are pros and cons.

I'm currently 40 now. I'm just wondering if there's any "rush" to jump into a govt job now or if I should keep pursuing private sector jobs in the meantime and then move over to govt a little later (if I want to). And yes, my company has very good benefits (considering it's non-tech) but the overall reputation of the company has been extremely poor for the past several years.

But yea you're right about the lower copay amounts actually - I forget that I'm paying into a high deductible plan with what I have so things start adding up with all the doctor's visits. I think I've been really used to working corporate America so it's hard understanding what it's like on the 'other side of the fence'

Regarding leaving the state job off the resume... it will look like there was a 'lapse' where I wasn't working - if people do things like that, what do they tell the recruiter/hiring manager if asked "so what were you doing since you quit/were laid off up until now? Haha

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2021, 10:01:36 AM »
I'm not sure you need to be worried about your resume - the times we are in mean that just about anything - career change, time not working, change of employer and industry - is going to need very little explanation other than "year of covid, made the best decision for my family at the time".

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2021, 10:04:08 AM »
Regarding the two days of vacation/pto per weekmonth, my friend who works for the state said you can accumulate these and not use them and have them count towards some sort of credit?
Enforcement of the 640 hour cap on compensable leave might only look at vacation/annual leave balances. The rules say that the "Personal Leave Program 2020" credits must be used before vacation/annual leave, but yes some people might be able to temporarily accumulate beyond the official caps.

As with other employers in California, leave that can be used for any purpose is considered earned compensation when accrued and must be cashed out upon separation. Official options are to directly receive a payment or to have the payment transferred to a SavingsPlus retirement account. It is not uncommon for employees to burn through their leave at the end of their employment, remaining an employee on the books but using up (at least some of) their compensable leave before officially separating from employment (this would be subject to the same approval process that any vacation would require). Unused sick leave can be converted to service credit in the retirement system but cannot be cashed out.

EDIT: I just checked at http://eservices.calhr.ca.gov/BenefitsCalculatorExternal/BenefitCalculator.aspx - It looks like for Kaiser HMO/Delta Dental Basic/Vision it will cost $447 for a family (they don't specify how many so it seems like 3 or more and they don't increase the cost or state contribution amount. At my current company, for the same coverage I'm roughly paying around $420/mo AND I am able to contribute to an FSA and HSA. So unless I'm missing something, it seems the state health/dental/vision benefits actually aren't that great especially compared to county, where they give you a much more generous voucher.
Yes, state medical plans are priced as 1) employee only, 2) employee + 1 dependent, 3) family (employee + all dependents).

If you can contribute to a HSA, then your deductibles has to be higher than the state plans.

You are correct, that county plan does sound more generous than the state plan.

Or if, like me, you quit for a couple of years and then get re-hired back with the state. I left for 2 years to FIRE and travel (36 - 38) then they asked me to come back and I did for 4 years and went right back into the pension system and  my 457 until I quit again at 42.
The state does tend to be an easier employer to return to. My mother worked for the state before becoming a SAHM. Three decades later, she needed to return to the workforce and her prior state service made it relatively easy to get a job with the state again. She had cashed out her pension, but was able to buy back the credit (somehow borrowed against her pension payment, but resulting in a higher overall payment - I'm not clear on the details and don't know if the same options are afforded to people that start in the pension system today).

As I said before, retirement medical benefits are only available after 10 years of service and pro-rated based on years of service until 20 years of service. They also depend on starting retirement within a few months of separating from service with medical benefits. I didn't start the FIRE path early enough to expect to reach FI before age 50, so I will likely retire with pension and medical benefit rather than delay the pension to increase the payment amount (but losing the medical benefit). Of course if I did separate and not take the pension, I could attempt to reinstate prior to starting the pension to reestablish the medical benefit.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2021, 10:13:33 AM »
Thanks all. I think I'm having trouble weighing all the pros and cons, especially as it relates to the 'vested' benefits of working for the state, which makes it a little harder to do an apples-to-apples comparison. But summarizing, it sounds like in the short-term private sector generally seems better in terms of higher pay (and benefits can be good too) and in particular for pursuing FIRE. But over the long-haul government seems to give you better assurance that you'll be 'taken care of' even throughout retirement IF you stick around long enough. So if I'm 40 now and concede to pushing my FIRE date back to at least 50 and anywhere to 60 committing to work for the govt, I won't have to worry much about healthcare (and major health issues that could arise) or my salary too much (assuming I don't seek to live the high life lol).

« Last Edit: April 08, 2021, 10:15:24 AM by jeromedawg »

spartana

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2021, 10:43:22 AM »
Regarding the two days of vacation/pto per weekmonth, my friend who works for the state said you can accumulate these and not use them and have them count towards some sort of credit?
Enforcement of the 640 hour cap on compensable leave might only look at vacation/annual leave balances. The rules say that the "Personal Leave Program 2020" credits must be used before vacation/annual leave, but yes some people might be able to temporarily accumulate beyond the official caps.

As with other employers in California, leave that can be used for any purpose is considered earned compensation when accrued and must be cashed out upon separation. Official options are to directly receive a payment or to have the payment transferred to a SavingsPlus retirement account. It is not uncommon for employees to burn through their leave at the end of their employment, remaining an employee on the books but using up (at least some of) their compensable leave before officially separating from employment (this would be subject to the same approval process that any vacation would require). Unused sick leave can be converted to service credit in the retirement system but cannot be cashed out.

EDIT: I just checked at http://eservices.calhr.ca.gov/BenefitsCalculatorExternal/BenefitCalculator.aspx - It looks like for Kaiser HMO/Delta Dental Basic/Vision it will cost $447 for a family (they don't specify how many so it seems like 3 or more and they don't increase the cost or state contribution amount. At my current company, for the same coverage I'm roughly paying around $420/mo AND I am able to contribute to an FSA and HSA. So unless I'm missing something, it seems the state health/dental/vision benefits actually aren't that great especially compared to county, where they give you a much more generous voucher.
Yes, state medical plans are priced as 1) employee only, 2) employee + 1 dependent, 3) family (employee + all dependents).

If you can contribute to a HSA, then your deductibles has to be higher than the state plans.

You are correct, that county plan does sound more generous than the state plan.

Or if, like me, you quit for a couple of years and then get re-hired back with the state. I left for 2 years to FIRE and travel (36 - 38) then they asked me to come back and I did for 4 years and went right back into the pension system and  my 457 until I quit again at 42.
The state does tend to be an easier employer to return to. My mother worked for the state before becoming a SAHM. Three decades later, she needed to return to the workforce and her prior state service made it relatively easy to get a job with the state again. She had cashed out her pension, but was able to buy back the credit (somehow borrowed against her pension payment, but resulting in a higher overall payment - I'm not clear on the details and don't know if the same options are afforded to people that start in the pension system today).

As I said before, retirement medical benefits are only available after 10 years of service and pro-rated based on years of service until 20 years of service. They also depend on starting retirement within a few months of separating from service with medical benefits. I didn't start the FIRE path early enough to expect to reach FI before age 50, so I will likely retire with pension and medical benefit rather than delay the pension to increase the payment amount (but losing the medical benefit). Of course if I did separate and not take the pension, I could attempt to reinstate prior to starting the pension to reestablish the medical benefit.
Yeah my work "break" after 6 years at the state job (30 to 36) messed up my eligibility to get retiree medical at a fairly early age. And just couldn't do another 10 plus years the second time around as was already FI. Oh well, messed up but had other options after using up COBRA. In hindsight I would have stayed working continuiously, still retired fairly young but with medical and a much larger pension at 50 (mine's about $900/month which is larger then my lower income 10-year pension would be because of military service credit buy back). Getting asked to come back to work was more a factor of having all the right qualifications, clearences and certifications required for my (weird) state job which are very hard to get and often take several years on the job to obtain.

For the OP I think, given your age, no desire to RE, and family requirements (want to live somewhere specific for kids education), you'd be best staying in the public sector and continue to sock away the bigger bucks. That will give you more flexibility with you job, finances and life.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2021, 11:59:49 AM »
Regarding the two days of vacation/pto per weekmonth, my friend who works for the state said you can accumulate these and not use them and have them count towards some sort of credit?
Enforcement of the 640 hour cap on compensable leave might only look at vacation/annual leave balances. The rules say that the "Personal Leave Program 2020" credits must be used before vacation/annual leave, but yes some people might be able to temporarily accumulate beyond the official caps.

As with other employers in California, leave that can be used for any purpose is considered earned compensation when accrued and must be cashed out upon separation. Official options are to directly receive a payment or to have the payment transferred to a SavingsPlus retirement account. It is not uncommon for employees to burn through their leave at the end of their employment, remaining an employee on the books but using up (at least some of) their compensable leave before officially separating from employment (this would be subject to the same approval process that any vacation would require). Unused sick leave can be converted to service credit in the retirement system but cannot be cashed out.

EDIT: I just checked at http://eservices.calhr.ca.gov/BenefitsCalculatorExternal/BenefitCalculator.aspx - It looks like for Kaiser HMO/Delta Dental Basic/Vision it will cost $447 for a family (they don't specify how many so it seems like 3 or more and they don't increase the cost or state contribution amount. At my current company, for the same coverage I'm roughly paying around $420/mo AND I am able to contribute to an FSA and HSA. So unless I'm missing something, it seems the state health/dental/vision benefits actually aren't that great especially compared to county, where they give you a much more generous voucher.
Yes, state medical plans are priced as 1) employee only, 2) employee + 1 dependent, 3) family (employee + all dependents).

If you can contribute to a HSA, then your deductibles has to be higher than the state plans.

You are correct, that county plan does sound more generous than the state plan.

Or if, like me, you quit for a couple of years and then get re-hired back with the state. I left for 2 years to FIRE and travel (36 - 38) then they asked me to come back and I did for 4 years and went right back into the pension system and  my 457 until I quit again at 42.
The state does tend to be an easier employer to return to. My mother worked for the state before becoming a SAHM. Three decades later, she needed to return to the workforce and her prior state service made it relatively easy to get a job with the state again. She had cashed out her pension, but was able to buy back the credit (somehow borrowed against her pension payment, but resulting in a higher overall payment - I'm not clear on the details and don't know if the same options are afforded to people that start in the pension system today).

As I said before, retirement medical benefits are only available after 10 years of service and pro-rated based on years of service until 20 years of service. They also depend on starting retirement within a few months of separating from service with medical benefits. I didn't start the FIRE path early enough to expect to reach FI before age 50, so I will likely retire with pension and medical benefit rather than delay the pension to increase the payment amount (but losing the medical benefit). Of course if I did separate and not take the pension, I could attempt to reinstate prior to starting the pension to reestablish the medical benefit.
Yeah my work "break" after 6 years at the state job (30 to 36) messed up my eligibility to get retiree medical at a fairly early age. And just couldn't do another 10 plus years the second time around as was already FI. Oh well, messed up but had other options after using up COBRA. In hindsight I would have stayed working continuiously, still retired fairly young but with medical and a much larger pension at 50 (mine's about $900/month which is larger then my lower income 10-year pension would be because of military service credit buy back). Getting asked to come back to work was more a factor of having all the right qualifications, clearences and certifications required for my (weird) state job which are very hard to get and often take several years on the job to obtain.

For the OP I think, given your age, no desire to RE, and family requirements (want to live somewhere specific for kids education), you'd be best staying in the public sector and continue to sock away the bigger bucks. That will give you more flexibility with you job, finances and life.

Thanks for the feedback. Do you think it would ever make sense to move to govt? I guess I'll keep looking for public but it feels a bit hopeless at the moment because I feel like most of the positions I'd want to go after I'm underqualified for. I've posted elsewhere about this but if I feel like if can't keep the "status quo" with current work and have to constantly worry about upskilling and additional training/education, I might just want a career change (to what, I have no idea). I guess this is where I have to try to adapt or whatever.
With the govt position I'm applying/interviewing for, I think I'd be at least getting more hands-on with infosec tools and concepts I haven't used or applied in a long time. So the trade-off there (in terms of the lower pay) is getting that experience back and hopefully gaining more through "on the job training." In the long-run, it could potentially benefit me in terms of being more marketable and mobile as far as moving back to infosec in the private sector or even getting into higher level infosec positions with the state, gov, county, etc... but the whole point about there being stigma working for the state and coming over to the private sector is concerning. I wonder if this is as much of a problem though with tech in particular (especially infosec) as with other fields.
Also, I'd get the stigma issue being a concern if you were public from the get-go and then tried going to private but what if you were in the private sector for a long time, then jumped to state for however long, and then tried to go back to private? I would *think* there wouldn't be as much stigma there... maybe the longer you're with state/public the harder it is to get out in general?

Then again, RE is a nice proposition and I don't know how much longer I'd prefer to keep working. Right now, I think it's just not viable for me to retire early though with our intention to stay in the immediate HCOL area, especially if we were to get a home. I mean, we could keep saving up for an all cash buy but I don't know if that's such a great idea either.
BTW: I big reason I'm entertaining this is because someone else in another thread here I started recommended a state job (for the benefits and 'supplemental' pay) if I intend to Barista FIRE.

« Last Edit: April 08, 2021, 12:40:28 PM by jeromedawg »

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2021, 03:48:30 PM »
Well, I just had the interview. It went pretty well overall, except TWICE (once at the beginning of the interview and once at the end) they asked me if I'd be willing to relocate to Sacramento :T

I actually asked, at the end of the interview, how the telework situation has been and what they expect it to look like in the future. The response was canned: "It's under the direction of the state" and then I asked if they have found the telework situation to be positively or negatively impacting productivity. The hiring manager said "it has been positive" so he was fine with it. The consulting manager (who was a long-time state employee and was brought back on a consultancy basis to help with this team) immediately asked "so would you be willing to relocate to Sacramento?"

I said it is open to consideration and I need to check with my wife to be fair LOL. I tried to make it seem like I was open but it probably sounded more like a "No" so we'll see.

The work they were describing actually sounded pretty engaging and with a lot of things needed to be done. At the same time, one of the non-technical interview questions was: "describe your experience working on a team. how would you resolve issues or work with difficult coworkers?" or something along those lines - I feel like that could be a red flag. The current position I'm in they asked me the same exact question and after I took the job I learned very quickly that the lead developer was AWFUL. Eventually he got pushed out of the role and into another group because of how much of a jerk he was but he was super dismissive of nearly everything and always felt the need to be the dissenting voice in the room (not to mention the guy with jokes that nobody else thought were funny)

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2021, 08:35:38 AM »
At the same time, one of the non-technical interview questions was: "describe your experience working on a team. how would you resolve issues or work with difficult coworkers?" or something along those lines - I feel like that could be a red flag.
I wouldn't read too much into this, probably just a question they found it in some interview question list. It does not necessarily mean the team already has a difficult coworker on it.

I don't know what you should expect about telework. Before COVID, telework was unavailable for most positions. Decisions to make changes usually take a long time in government, so for the most part everyone is has been doing "emergency" telework for the past year and does not know if it will continue after social distancing is ended. I expect that many positions will be allowed to telework at least part time - there would be obvious advantages to the state to reduce the office space requirements.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2021, 09:04:09 AM »
At the same time, one of the non-technical interview questions was: "describe your experience working on a team. how would you resolve issues or work with difficult coworkers?" or something along those lines - I feel like that could be a red flag.
I wouldn't read too much into this, probably just a question they found it in some interview question list. It does not necessarily mean the team already has a difficult coworker on it.

I don't know what you should expect about telework. Before COVID, telework was unavailable for most positions. Decisions to make changes usually take a long time in government, so for the most part everyone is has been doing "emergency" telework for the past year and does not know if it will continue after social distancing is ended. I expect that many positions will be allowed to telework at least part time - there would be obvious advantages to the state to reduce the office space requirements.

True, maybe my experience with having a really bad coworker after being interviewed (and that question asked) and getting the job was just coincidental. My peer (who has been in the field for a decade longer than I have) and I both agree that he was the *worst* coworker we have ever dealt with in our careers. I'm sure that's an exception....lol

I sort of got the feeling that they were implying that they won't go any further with me if I won't consider relocation. They were really trying to probe for this up front. Makes sense. But given the nature of the work that was described as well as how a majority of what they're doing is virtualized or in the cloud (not to mention the purpose of the group: to provide "digital services"), it would also make sense to me that this department (of the many) would actually push harder and vouch for teleworking or at least flex options. Anyway, we'll see what comes of it. I'm not expecting or hoping for much and will frankly be surprised if I get an offer. And even then, I'm still deliberating taking the paycut if I do get it.

In the meantime,  I've been applying for other positions rather aggressively.

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #35 on: April 09, 2021, 09:19:05 AM »
I sort of got the feeling that they were implying that they won't go any further with me if I won't consider relocation. They were really trying to probe for this up front. Makes sense. But given the nature of the work that was described as well as how a majority of what they're doing is virtualized or in the cloud (not to mention the purpose of the group: to provide "digital services"), it would also make sense to me that this department (of the many) would actually push harder and vouch for teleworking or at least flex options.
I'm sure that there will be a lot more flex options going forward. Not sure about 100% telework though. Nearly all of my work can be done remotely and my team has moved into a space that cannot accommodate the entire team at once, but my management has decided that a weekly physical presence is still expected.

"Digital services" still need hardware somewhere to provide them (not that hardware support is necessarily part of the position you applied to, or even performed by the agency you applied to - could be outsourced to OTECH).

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2021, 09:33:37 AM »
I sort of got the feeling that they were implying that they won't go any further with me if I won't consider relocation. They were really trying to probe for this up front. Makes sense. But given the nature of the work that was described as well as how a majority of what they're doing is virtualized or in the cloud (not to mention the purpose of the group: to provide "digital services"), it would also make sense to me that this department (of the many) would actually push harder and vouch for teleworking or at least flex options.
I'm sure that there will be a lot more flex options going forward. Not sure about 100% telework though. Nearly all of my work can be done remotely and my team has moved into a space that cannot accommodate the entire team at once, but my management has decided that a weekly physical presence is still expected.

"Digital services" still need hardware somewhere to provide them (not that hardware support is necessarily part of the position you applied to, or even performed by the agency you applied to - could be outsourced to OTECH).

Yea, we're having the same problem at the company I currently work for. Pre-covid they were talking about this "back to office co-location" plan and seemed to be ignoring the fact that nearly ALL of their office spaces and hubs were at max capacity. I think a lot of it has to do with the old school mentality of "showing up" to work - the older generation of employees sees it as a necessity and better than telework. I think there's a stigma about teleworking where anyone who teleworks is just slacking off the whole time.

Yea, I get that hardware support is still needed. The older gentleman who was asking me questions, at some point had asked/confirmed if I was physically in front of a terminal when I was responding to an incident while answering one of their questions. The truth is, data centers are slowly becoming obsolete. If what I was told is true about this department building a new app "from scratch" and it's cloud-based, then the amount of physical presence in front of terminals is going to decline substantially. And if they do have the need for anyone to physically access a terminal, I'd imagine they want a lower tier analyst to be responsible for that with phone in hand. *Maybe* that's what they're viewing this position as but to me ITS I seems more mid-level. I would think they'd want to get a dedicated ITA to be the eyes and ears for that stuff. But having no familiarity with how the state works, I can't really give much input there haha

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #37 on: April 09, 2021, 10:44:25 AM »
I would think they'd want to get a dedicated ITA to be the eyes and ears for that stuff. But having no familiarity with how the state works, I can't really give much input there haha
I'm pretty sure that our desktop support people are mostly IT Associates (some may even be IT Technicians) - but I don't know for sure if the same is true in the server rooms. I'd like to work my way into an IT Specialist I role (I'm not currently in an IT classification).

spartana

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2021, 04:30:22 PM »
Regarding the two days of vacation/pto per weekmonth, my friend who works for the state said you can accumulate these and not use them and have them count towards some sort of credit?
Enforcement of the 640 hour cap on compensable leave might only look at vacation/annual leave balances. The rules say that the "Personal Leave Program 2020" credits must be used before vacation/annual leave, but yes some people might be able to temporarily accumulate beyond the official caps.

As with other employers in California, leave that can be used for any purpose is considered earned compensation when accrued and must be cashed out upon separation. Official options are to directly receive a payment or to have the payment transferred to a SavingsPlus retirement account. It is not uncommon for employees to burn through their leave at the end of their employment, remaining an employee on the books but using up (at least some of) their compensable leave before officially separating from employment (this would be subject to the same approval process that any vacation would require). Unused sick leave can be converted to service credit in the retirement system but cannot be cashed out.

EDIT: I just checked at http://eservices.calhr.ca.gov/BenefitsCalculatorExternal/BenefitCalculator.aspx - It looks like for Kaiser HMO/Delta Dental Basic/Vision it will cost $447 for a family (they don't specify how many so it seems like 3 or more and they don't increase the cost or state contribution amount. At my current company, for the same coverage I'm roughly paying around $420/mo AND I am able to contribute to an FSA and HSA. So unless I'm missing something, it seems the state health/dental/vision benefits actually aren't that great especially compared to county, where they give you a much more generous voucher.
Yes, state medical plans are priced as 1) employee only, 2) employee + 1 dependent, 3) family (employee + all dependents).

If you can contribute to a HSA, then your deductibles has to be higher than the state plans.

You are correct, that county plan does sound more generous than the state plan.

Or if, like me, you quit for a couple of years and then get re-hired back with the state. I left for 2 years to FIRE and travel (36 - 38) then they asked me to come back and I did for 4 years and went right back into the pension system and  my 457 until I quit again at 42.
The state does tend to be an easier employer to return to. My mother worked for the state before becoming a SAHM. Three decades later, she needed to return to the workforce and her prior state service made it relatively easy to get a job with the state again. She had cashed out her pension, but was able to buy back the credit (somehow borrowed against her pension payment, but resulting in a higher overall payment - I'm not clear on the details and don't know if the same options are afforded to people that start in the pension system today).

As I said before, retirement medical benefits are only available after 10 years of service and pro-rated based on years of service until 20 years of service. They also depend on starting retirement within a few months of separating from service with medical benefits. I didn't start the FIRE path early enough to expect to reach FI before age 50, so I will likely retire with pension and medical benefit rather than delay the pension to increase the payment amount (but losing the medical benefit). Of course if I did separate and not take the pension, I could attempt to reinstate prior to starting the pension to reestablish the medical benefit.
Yeah my work "break" after 6 years at the state job (30 to 36) messed up my eligibility to get retiree medical at a fairly early age. And just couldn't do another 10 plus years the second time around as was already FI. Oh well, messed up but had other options after using up COBRA. In hindsight I would have stayed working continuiously, still retired fairly young but with medical and a much larger pension at 50 (mine's about $900/month which is larger then my lower income 10-year pension would be because of military service credit buy back). Getting asked to come back to work was more a factor of having all the right qualifications, clearences and certifications required for my (weird) state job which are very hard to get and often take several years on the job to obtain.

For the OP I think, given your age, no desire to RE, and family requirements (want to live somewhere specific for kids education), you'd be best staying in the public sector and continue to sock away the bigger bucks. That will give you more flexibility with you job, finances and life.

Thanks for the feedback. Do you think it would ever make sense to move to govt? I guess I'll keep looking for public but it feels a bit hopeless at the moment because I feel like most of the positions I'd want to go after I'm underqualified for. I've posted elsewhere about this but if I feel like if can't keep the "status quo" with current work and have to constantly worry about upskilling and additional training/education, I might just want a career change (to what, I have no idea). I guess this is where I have to try to adapt or whatever.
With the govt position I'm applying/interviewing for, I think I'd be at least getting more hands-on with infosec tools and concepts I haven't used or applied in a long time. So the trade-off there (in terms of the lower pay) is getting that experience back and hopefully gaining more through "on the job training." In the long-run, it could potentially benefit me in terms of being more marketable and mobile as far as moving back to infosec in the private sector or even getting into higher level infosec positions with the state, gov, county, etc... but the whole point about there being stigma working for the state and coming over to the private sector is concerning. I wonder if this is as much of a problem though with tech in particular (especially infosec) as with other fields.
Also, I'd get the stigma issue being a concern if you were public from the get-go and then tried going to private but what if you were in the private sector for a long time, then jumped to state for however long, and then tried to go back to private? I would *think* there wouldn't be as much stigma there... maybe the longer you're with state/public the harder it is to get out in general?

Then again, RE is a nice proposition and I don't know how much longer I'd prefer to keep working. Right now, I think it's just not viable for me to retire early though with our intention to stay in the immediate HCOL area, especially if we were to get a home. I mean, we could keep saving up for an all cash buy but I don't know if that's such a great idea either.
BTW: I big reason I'm entertaining this is because someone else in another thread here I started recommended a state job (for the benefits and 'supplemental' pay) if I intend to Barista FIRE.
Sorry can't help you with any info as I had a field job in compliance/LE so not sure how it all works for those who work in office fields. I had lots of required continuous training, education and re-qualifying for various things every year. Got old fast but helped with job retention and re-hiring. plus I was legally required to have that re-training and carry certain certifications or was not allowed to continue to be employed (I had to meet many Fed requirements annually  too). So your job may require that type of continuous education/training the same as a private sector job does to remain employed with the state. Dunno. I do think hiring on younger works best from a pension prospective otherwise the pay in the private sector is likely to outweigh the benefits of a shorter term public sector pension. Good luck!

ETA the stigma thing... not sure how to address that as (once I was Director of my dept and did the hiring) I found it didn't matter if they worked private or public before - as long as they met the qualifications. However I DID generally hire younger people (I know...my bad) because of the nature of the job as well as the lower pay. So age discrimination (yes again my bad) is a real thing if you are looking to  begin in a Gov agency. Although you will likely find once in you can keep the job fairly.long term.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2021, 04:43:47 PM by spartana »

robartsd

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2021, 05:00:33 PM »
I do think hiring on younger works best from a pension prospective otherwise the pay in the private sector is likely to outweigh the benefits of a shorter term public sector pension.
For a career split between public and private sector, I think it might be a tossup. Reaching retirement age in the state job has the advantage of retiring with benefits. On the other hand, pay differential between public and private probably tends to widen with career experience. Theoretically, the most advantageous might be to get most of your government service early in your career, go to private sector for money in the middle career, then go back to the government system to establish a high final salary as basis for the pension and activate medical benefits.

spartana

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #40 on: April 10, 2021, 08:57:16 AM »
I do think hiring on younger works best from a pension prospective otherwise the pay in the private sector is likely to outweigh the benefits of a shorter term public sector pension.
For a career split between public and private sector, I think it might be a tossup. Reaching retirement age in the state job has the advantage of retiring with benefits. On the other hand, pay differential between public and private probably tends to widen with career experience. Theoretically, the most advantageous might be to get most of your government service early in your career, go to private sector for money in the middle career, then go back to the government system to establish a high final salary as basis for the pension and activate medical benefits.
That would probably be ideal if you knew that you could be rehired into a Gov position and that your pay would be higher than your earlier Gov position. Or that the pension plan and benefits didn't change for the worse during your absence and you aren't grandfathered in on the old plan. I've seen that happen even "back in the day" when I was working.

MayDay

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #41 on: April 10, 2021, 11:01:23 AM »
The question about dealing with a difficult coworker is common. We ask it in every interview.

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #42 on: April 10, 2021, 11:26:05 AM »
The question about dealing with a difficult coworker is common. We ask it in every interview.

I figure it would be a "common" question where you're looking for more of the social-behavioral response from the candidate. Honestly, I don't recall ever being asked that question at prior jobs. It's funny how that "worked out" at my current place though where we actually did have an extremely difficult coworker that we had to work with.

MayDay

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #43 on: April 11, 2021, 12:03:55 PM »
The question about dealing with a difficult coworker is common. We ask it in every interview.

I figure it would be a "common" question where you're looking for more of the social-behavioral response from the candidate. Honestly, I don't recall ever being asked that question at prior jobs. It's funny how that "worked out" at my current place though where we actually did have an extremely difficult coworker that we had to work with.

You wouldn't believe the number of people who say "I've never had conflicts at work".  Which means they are either the problem (and oblivious to it) or lying.

Any answer along the lines of "here is a situation, and I dealt with it by communication or cooperation or asking for help" is fine.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #44 on: April 11, 2021, 01:16:47 PM »
The question about dealing with a difficult coworker is common. We ask it in every interview.

I figure it would be a "common" question where you're looking for more of the social-behavioral response from the candidate. Honestly, I don't recall ever being asked that question at prior jobs. It's funny how that "worked out" at my current place though where we actually did have an extremely difficult coworker that we had to work with.

You wouldn't believe the number of people who say "I've never had conflicts at work".  Which means they are either the problem (and oblivious to it) or lying.

Any answer along the lines of "here is a situation, and I dealt with it by communication or cooperation or asking for help" is fine.

Places in the past didn't always ask that but I of course ran into difficult people to work with. My answer usually involves talking about the issue and trying to understand the overall intent and goal and getting on the same page or at least arriving to that goal/intent. If not, then I'll talk about escalating to a manager to help mediate and come to an agreement. In any case, I would expect that if I'm being asked that question I should also expect for there to be at least one or more people who are pretty difficult to work with haha. Better safe than sorry I suppose LOL

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #45 on: April 16, 2021, 04:45:58 PM »
OK, so aside from working to try to get or maximize pension and health retirement benefits offered by the state... would any of you (current or former state/fed/gov employees) actually recommend working in the public sector in the context of Coast or Barista FIRE particularly for the 'stability' along with the health benefits, etc *while* gainfully employed there (at least until you're actually ready to fully quit and retire)?

spartana

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #46 on: April 17, 2021, 09:41:33 AM »
OK, so aside from working to try to get or maximize pension and health retirement benefits offered by the state... would any of you (current or former state/fed/gov employees) actually recommend working in the public sector in the context of Coast or Barista FIRE particularly for the 'stability' along with the health benefits, etc *while* gainfully employed there (at least until you're actually ready to fully quit and retire)?
That means you're assuming part time work? Not always guaranteed with a public sector job So I won't do it for a barista or coast FIRE if your main goal is to have more time not working. However if you are just in it for the current benefits and possible future pension and retiree health insurance and don't care about time off then yeah, that might be doable. Still seems like "a job" to me and you'll likely want to continue saving in tax deferred stuff while employed so probably not real barista or coast FIRE that gives you more freedom.

FINate

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #47 on: April 17, 2021, 10:47:43 AM »
According to Mr. Google there's at least one dual immersion Mandarin program in Sacramento. Have you looked into it? If this is an option then the state job w/ relocation to Sac is, IMO, a no-brainer. Much lower cost of living (modest houses within $350-400k). Job security. Lower stress. Good potential for short/easy commute. Easy access to Tahoe, wine country, lakes, SF Bay Area, and the rest of NorCal, and the ocean isn't *that* far away. Sac is an interesting city, and the downtown has recently experienced a renaissance as people have spilled over from the Bay Area.

The biggest downside I can think of is the pay cut. And there may be some truth to how this impacts "upward mobility." But why do you care if you're seriously considering Coast or Barista FIRE? Give the state thing a try for a few years in Sac, if you don't like it then you're already in a LCOL area so Coast/Barista FIRE becomes that much easier.

jeromedawg

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #48 on: April 17, 2021, 11:46:02 AM »
According to Mr. Google there's at least one dual immersion Mandarin program in Sacramento. Have you looked into it? If this is an option then the state job w/ relocation to Sac is, IMO, a no-brainer. Much lower cost of living (modest houses within $350-400k). Job security. Lower stress. Good potential for short/easy commute. Easy access to Tahoe, wine country, lakes, SF Bay Area, and the rest of NorCal, and the ocean isn't *that* far away. Sac is an interesting city, and the downtown has recently experienced a renaissance as people have spilled over from the Bay Area.

The biggest downside I can think of is the pay cut. And there may be some truth to how this impacts "upward mobility." But why do you care if you're seriously considering Coast or Barista FIRE? Give the state thing a try for a few years in Sac, if you don't like it then you're already in a LCOL area so Coast/Barista FIRE becomes that much easier.

I saw they have MIP at one school there but doesn't go through HS. I've also heard some iffy things about the Sacramento school district too from a couple state employees who reside up there: "The Sacramento Unified School District is in constant crisis- funding shortfalls, teacher layoffs and strikes, etc." - that doesn't sound very reassuring. Everything else about the area seems like it could work but the note on education is concerning.

That said, I haven't heard anything back about the position I applied and interviewed for up there. I think they picked up on the vibe that I wasn't keen about uprooting and moving up there. I don't know how office work is for the state, but it may end up being a decision I regret especially having been WFH for so long. I don't know... maybe I need to become a full-time Youtuber LOL.
On a serious note: if I can find a state/county position local to my area, that's going to be the first priority I think.

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Re: State job (California) - pay and benefits
« Reply #49 on: April 19, 2021, 02:27:25 AM »
OK, so aside from working to try to get or maximize pension and health retirement benefits offered by the state... would any of you (current or former state/fed/gov employees) actually recommend working in the public sector in the context of Coast or Barista FIRE particularly for the 'stability' along with the health benefits, etc *while* gainfully employed there (at least until you're actually ready to fully quit and retire)?

Once you work for the state for a year and are off probation, you can pretty much tell them that you're moving down to 32 hours a week or whatever and that's pretty much it.  This is in California, anyways.  Unless you're in a public safety job, they can't do much about it.  There's a limit to what is considered full time, I think 30 or 32 hours, and as long as you don't drop below it, you get full benefits.  Your pay is reduced, of course, and that affects your retirement.