County of Hawaii Reaches Furlough Agreement With HGEA

Media Release:

County of Hawai`i Mayor Billy Kenoi today announced a new two-year agreement with the Hawai`i Government Employees Association that continues a limited county furlough program to save an estimated $2.1 million per year.

The agreement calls for HGEA members to accept furloughs of one day per month for the two-year period that began July 1, 2011. That equates to a pay reduction of 4.615 percent from pay levels in effect before furloughs first took effect last year.

HGEA members accepted two furlough days per month during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011.

The new, scaled-back furlough program will better serve the public by allowing county facilities to remain open more days this year, Mayor Kenoi said.

“This is a fair agreement that reduces costs and prepares us for the uncertainties ahead,” Mayor Kenoi said. “It is a part of a larger effort to move the county to more solid financial ground, and to position us for the future.”

The new agreement with HGEA retains the existing 60-40 employer-employee health insurance premium cost split, Mayor Kenoi said.

“This agreement carefully balances the interests of both the public and public employees,” Mayor Kenoi said. “We are asking public workers to pay more each year as health insurance premiums increase, and that burden weighs most heavily on our lowest paid employees. This agreement strikes a fair balance on health care costs.”

Under the new agreement, the county will impose the first furlough day of the new fiscal year on Friday, July 29. Starting in August, the furlough days will be imposed on the first Friday of each month for the rest of this fiscal year, and will continue in fiscal 2012-13.

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