AFSCME Council 18

State Back-Pay Update: Here Comes the Back Pay...and the Headaches!

UPDATE (6/21/14): State has posted FAQ page to SPO Website:

While most NM State Employees are spotting their raises in SHARE, the implementation is also promising to generate quite a few headaches as the state and AFSCME struggle to make sure everything goes according to plan.

The fight for AFSCME members to receive the CORRECT amounts in back pay will continue. Beginning on June 7, State of New Mexico AFSCME represented employees who worked for the state, and were off probation, in or prior to fiscal year 2009 should have begun earning a higher hourly rate of pay. This is to comply with the Supreme Court ruling confirming NM State Personnel had underpaid the union raise in that year. The new hourly rate will show up on the June 27 paychecks.

After waffling over the ruling for months, Governor Martinez put her pay plan team together and it seemed things were moving along smoothly. The state even spent millions hiring one of the country's largest east coast accounting firms, BDO, to handle to overwhelmingly complex calculations.

Now, a few days into the new pay period, state employees are able to log into the SHARE system and view their new hourly pay rates. For most the news is good and, as expected, hourly rates have gone up between .13 and .50 cents an hour.

However, for many, the pay hasn't risen at all, or has gone up by a pittance of one or two cents an hour. AFSCME and state employees identified the trouble a mile away, when members supposed to receive back pay were not appearing on a preliminary list of eligibles.

AFSCME is doing a huge amount of the state's work for them by explaining the back pay process to employees. AFSCME staff are literally taking thousands of phone calls from union and non union workers to go through a list of questions and determine if a state employee is eligible for the back pay. AFSCME is only able to "ball park" what percentage they might expect their hourly pay to go up by..

Often, after going through the list of frequently asked questions, the employee needs more information to determine why they are not on the list for back pay. This is where things really come off the rails.

While some human resource bureaus are helpful and assist employees to get relevant information out of their personnel files, many HR bureaus are outright hostile and refuse to answer employee questions. In other cases, HR staff have stated that the State Personnel Office has given them ZERO guidance on what they should do to ensure employees have the information they need, or what changes need to occur in the SHARE system to correct mistakes that may be preventing the computer system from pulling employees into the pool of eligibles.

In some of the worst cases, HR staff are blatantly giving out bad information and mistakenly telling employees they are not eligible for back pay. Another employee was told since they were paying fair share, not full member dues, that they would not receive back pay. This is incorrect.

Union covered state employees should see an hourly pay rate rate adjustment on their June 27 paycheck. The state has said the lump sum back payments should be mailed sometime in August. (They want this debt OFF the books.)

Definitely check SHARE for a difference in your hourly rate of pay between last month and this current pay period. We're hearing about plenty of mistakes. (State employees may or may NOT have the ability to view their payroll info in SHARE, it varies from agency to agency) 

While there is no easy accurate way to estimate how much you're due, if you were below midpoint for your pay band in 12/2008, then approximately 19 cents/hr is in the ballpark. 

Disappointingly, AFSCME has taken calls from people who were paid below the midpoint in '08, and are now only earning only an extra 1 cent/hr. THAT appears to be a mistake.

Below are the list of the frequently asked questions that should help you determine if you should receive the back pay.

1. Were you hired and OFF probation prior to the close of FY09? (Fiscal year 2009 ran from July 1,2008 to June 30, 2009)

2. Are you 100% certain you were in a UNION Job?

3. Are you currently paying union dues and were you paying dues in July 2008?

4. Did you ever perform supervisory duties, were you considered confidential, were you on military leave, or any other leave (FMLA, Admin Leave, LWOP etc.)

5. Have you always gotten satisfactory or better evaluations and are they on file? (especially for fiscal year 2009 - FY09)

6. Did you receive the 2.9% pay increase in July '08?

If you answer YES to 2,3,5, 6 and NO to 4, then you should be covered and receiving back pay. If you check SHARE and are NOT seeing any raise, or cannot access the info, there could be a complicated issue or mistake on state's part. You should contact HR, tell them about the problem and obtain your employment payroll history report.

...and YES, when you get the run around, call AFSCME!

Those eligible for the “back pay” raise should have started at a new / higher wage rate beginning 6/7/14.  Many, but not all, employees can use SHARE to view your new rate of pay.

Here’s how:

Go into SHARE self service
Click on “View Time”
Click on “Payable Time Detail”
Then click on the tab “Task reporting Elements”
Scroll to the right and under the column “Estimated Gross” is the daily pay
Divide by 8 hours to get your rate of pay.
The rate for 06/06/2014 is your old rate
The rest (06/09/2014 forward) should be your new rate.

Also remember that, your 3% raise beginning in July 2014 will be calculated on your most recent / new rate of pay from the pay period beginning on 6/7/14. 

Remember to check the State Personnel Office Pay Plan FAQ page to SPO Website:

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