The California State Government Payroll System Will Be Upgraded


A long-running project to modernize the California state government’s decades-old payroll system has a new timeline and cost estimate in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal.

The California state payroll project would be completed in 2028 and would cost around $574 millionaccording to estimates in the draft budget Newsom released this week for the fiscal year beginning in July.

The current payroll system for state employees dates back to the Vietnam War era, when California employed 40% fewer people and did not participate in collective bargaining. The system often contributes to delays in payroll changes and sometimes leads to payroll errors. A state union filed a grievance over delays in 2017.

State comptrollers have considered a complete overhaul of the system since at least 1999, when the legislature spent $1 million on the project. A previous attempt was abandoned by former comptroller John Chiang after a failed deployment to a small number of staff in 2013.

The last attempt began in 2016. Since then, the state has approved spending about $21 million on the project, according to budget documents. State Comptroller Betty Yee said in 2019 that she would make the massive project a priority in her second term.

New budget documents call for the state to spend about $98 million on the project next year and more than $90 million annually for four years thereafter.

Most of the money would go to contractors, but the plan calls for the Office of the State Comptroller to hire 32 permanent employees for the project in the fiscal year that begins July 1, at a cost of around $5, $4 million, and to add seven more employees the following year.

The project was delayed, according to budget documents, as planners decided to add new features, including enrollment features for state worker benefits such as long-term disability insurance, Medical Reimbursement Plans, a Dependent Care Reimbursement Plan and a Flexible Spending Plan for pre-tax parking which are now managed by a benefits provider.

Another expansion would add travel and expense functions now handled by the California Automated Travel and Expense Reimbursement System, often referred to as CalATERS.

In 2021, planners added a new project director from CalHR to help ensure the system can meet the requirements of state laws, regulations and bargaining agreements, according to budget documents.

The project is expected to “lead to more accurate, effective, and efficient processes for statewide payroll and leave accounting,” and will also help with hiring and training, according to a budget proposal.

“The California State Payroll System is a massive undertaking to modernize the state’s legacy human resources and payroll system, taking into account all of the complexities that have developed over more four decades,” Yee said in a statement provided in an email by the spokesperson. Jennifer Hanson. “CSPS will provide employees and managers with user-friendly self-service features that will enable increased efficiency. »

This story was originally published January 14, 2022 5:25 a.m.

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Wes Venteicher presents The Bee’s popular coverage of State Worker in the newspaper’s Capitol Bureau. It covers taxes, pensions, unions, state expenses, and the California government. A native of Montana, he reported on health care and politics in Chicago and Pittsburgh before joining The Bee in 2018.


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