The California Experience

On December 19, 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered California state workers to take 1 day per month as an unpaid furlough, beginning in February 2009. That has grown to 3 days per month at December 19, 2010, roughly a 15% decrease in pay and working hours. The California Supreme Court ruled on October 4, 2010 that the governor may not order furloughs and pay cuts for state employees, but these decisions require the legislature to act. A few days later, the California legislature passed the budget with an $896 million cut in pay for state workers and with furloughs.

Some workers covered by collective bargaining contracts have their pay reduced under different terms. Different agencies and departments use different approaches. Some agencies simply shut down three days per month. Others schedule individual workers' furloughs for different days. Sonoma State University told instructors to