After years of frustration, the Colorado Legislature has finally done right by our corrections officers and fixed what's known as the "28-day work period" by passing SB 210. This fix means paycheck fairness and accountability for thousands of corrections officers in communities on the Western Slope and across the state.
SB 210, sponsored by Sen. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) and Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) ends the 28-day, 171-hour system and puts in place a 14-day, 85-hour work period making it easier for corrections officers to earn overtime and be less penalized for authorized leave. As numerous corrections officers testified, the old system was so confusing and unfair none of our paychecks accurately reflected the hours we worked.
SB 210 improves overtime pay for officers working double shifts. Once an officer works the 12th hour, anything over 8.5 hours is compensated at time-and-a-half regardless whether or not he or she hits the 85-hour threshold. For example, if you work 13 consecutive hours, you would receive 4.5 hours of overtime. This is a huge relief to those of us who repeatedly work overtime and don't see it reflected on our time cards or in our paychecks.
Furthermore, SB 210 creates frontline communications channels for corrections officers about their working conditions. It directs the DOC to establish work period and compensation practices "through discussions with employees." SB 210 also establishes a framework to collect important data from DOC on staffing levels and turnover. This is important because staffing levels affect public safety and turnover costs taxpayers — and corrections officers are taxpayers too!
SB 210 didn't just happen. Our union, Colorado WINS, and our corrections officers made this happen. The Colorado WINS Department of Corrections Partnership team and 28-day Work Group members were at the table and developed the survey that more than 500 officers filled out to shape this bill. After the bill was introduced, corrections officers from Pueblo, Canon City, and Las Animas drove to Denver TWICE to testify in support of SB 210. Their personal testimony to the legislators about the unfairness of the 28-day work period made all the difference.
In the coming weeks and months, Colorado WINS will be at the table making sure that the DOC gets the implementation of these changes right. SB 210 gives us the tools to do our jobs better and protect public safety, and it's up to us to make it work.
Corrections officer David Pertz works at the Delta Correctional Facility and is a board member of Colorado WINS.blog comments powered by Disqus