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Old 03-13-2009, 02:10 PM
21 posts, read 36,108 times
Reputation: 11


Love the forum and have been lurking here for sometime checking out all the posts about Austin. I am moving through the interview process for a job with Texas state government based in Austin. I currently work for state government in a nearby state.

I don't know too much about the health benefits package Texas offers, but want to learn more in terms of cost of premiums to cover family members, preventative care coverage (physicals covered), bascially how you would rate it overall. I am very happy with the coverage I now have and how well Texas' compares would play a big role in my decision.

Also, how is working for state government in general. My state's budget is in good shape - right now at least. How are things in Texas? It appears that you all are doing alright as well. Are layoffs common?

Thanks for any information you can send my way.
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:36 PM
Location: Austin, TX
14,857 posts, read 33,442,739 times
Reputation: 8159
Layoffs from the state are almost unheard of.

When I worked for the state, I did not have any dependents, so not sure of add-on costs.

Working for the state can be goo, bad, or in-between...depends on what agency you are looking at and where exactly in it (and who you work for).
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:50 PM
2,238 posts, read 8,668,549 times
Reputation: 954
Layoffs are infrequent but do happen.

When I worked there, the order was all vacancies were eliminated and then the most recent hires. Usually eliminating vacancies was enough but some agencies do have to go to the next step to meet their quota.
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:10 PM
648 posts, read 1,875,355 times
Reputation: 184
I'm a govt worker and stressed about my job.....kind of. Legislature is in session and could CUT, CUT, CUT. Tax revenues WAY down. NPR was saying our unemployment rolls could be broke by the fall.

Insurance is MUCH more than expected and have to work there 3 full months before effective.
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:32 PM
Location: central Austin
7,228 posts, read 15,155,074 times
Reputation: 3907
When the state cuts jobs that is officially "the sky is falling" in Texas. Historically, a state job was very safe (and you bought that safety with lower pay) and layoffs nearly unheard of -- as we all know, we are in unchartered waters with the current economy . . . but the "common wisdom" for decades was that a state job was a safe job.
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Old 03-14-2009, 01:36 PM
4 posts, read 10,075 times
Reputation: 11
I work for the State. These jobs are safer than private sector jobs but there can be layoffs. If you are more than one year in and doing a good job you should be pretty safe. The previous posters are correct ... layoffs if they happen tend to be eliminating vacancies, then either letting the slackers or new hires go. This happened in 2002 when we had our last recession and the dot com bubble popped here in Austin.

The trade off for "security" is lower pay ... the Legislture bregrudgingly gives 2 or 3 percent raises every 3 or 4 years ... about $50 a month.

But you can get insurance benefits that are better than the private sector though ... here is a link that should help you with that and a number of other things ... Overview of Insurance Benefits :: Employees Retirement System of Texas

Not too get political but if the Obama Medical / Healthcare plan ever comes to pass ... from what I read, you will have to pay taxes on your insurance benefits ... so a state job might be a good palce to be short term ... but your low wages may get cut (indirectly). Something to think about ...

Last edited by Suburban Daisey; 03-14-2009 at 01:37 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 03-14-2009, 09:09 PM
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The pay is horrible, the benefits, okay but not the best.
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Old 03-14-2009, 09:15 PM
36,458 posts, read 55,972,912 times
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I worked for the state as caseworker in Dept of Health and Human services for five year--starting about 20 yrs ago--
at that time the state had come off a major hiring freeze where some departments HAD gone through RIFs---there was a major hiring blitz and people who could barely tie their shoes were getting hired--
the state does its budget for two years at a time--so it all depends to certain extent on how flush the budget and the economy is in the year the legislature meets--
no one has ever accused those people of being too sentient so predicting the future is just a crap shoot for the legislature

by the time I left the federal policy regarding food stamps was going through severe cut backs as well as AFDC and Medicaid--TX has NEVER paid as much as other states contributed to those programs so when the Fed cut back--TX's eligibility rolls were predicted to shrink significantly---
there were RIFs predicted then as well because there would have been too many caseworkers for the # of people on the rolls...what that meant was that there would finally have been an adequate number of workers to handle the difficult task of actually certifying and managing the caseloads--
since most caseworkers had probably 50% TOO MANY clients to handle properly...
of course the state did not really care about that--they just set impossible standards and expected workers to meet them--kind of like Wal-Mart does now...

I was very grateful to get the job however because my husband had lost his job/health insurance and we had a son who had been through cancer a couple of years ago and we could not find any type of decent health care to cover him or my husband who had high blood pressure and type II diabetes...
we were able to get great ins w/o worrying about pre-existing conditions for a reasonable amount of money--at that time what I took was called Harris Health care--don't think that is available and don't know what the state is offering beyound Blue Cross/Shield...
I was able to use the time with the state and piggyback that onto my Teacher retirement time/pension after I went back into teaching--and it helped me gain 5 additional years which was really beneficial when I needed to take early retirement...
I know that not all departments within the state are doing well--some like parks/wildlife have suffered for years because of lack of funding and probably people who have tried to make a career there have suffered as well because there has not been lot of growth in the budget...
other depts like the Liquor Control Board seem to make out like a bandit--so guess it all depends on your lobby/cash production situation...
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Old 03-15-2009, 06:07 PM
122 posts, read 296,599 times
Reputation: 81
Work in corrections, no layoffs unless you mess with the inmates or bring contraband in.
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:49 AM
170 posts, read 425,147 times
Reputation: 153
I used to work for the State. I loved the agency I worked for but I know that many people have different experiences depending on their particular agency. Our agency did have to lay a couple of people off when we merged with another agency. A few people were also moved to different jobs within the agency. I think that more than anything, the merger was a good excuse to look at how we were doing things and get rid of a couple of people who might not have been performing as well. For the most part, our agency seemed to really value their staff and a layoff would mean that things were really tight. Many agencies already have to do a lot with too few staff so losing even one person can really affect the productivity of the agency. It seemed that most of my co-workers felt like they were doing the work of two people so laying people off would have been a nightmare! Of course, our legislature can do anything they want and that includes funding. Seeing as we are in the middle of the session right now, it's hard to predict what might happen to agency budgets during the next two years (the Texas Legislature meets every other year).

If you have questions about specific benefits, you might look at the website for the Employees Retirement System of Texas. There's a lot of info on there that you should be able to access without being a current employee. If you're looking for pricing for health care coverage, look at the link "Health premium costs for full-time employees & part-time employees". I had HealthSelect (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) and felt like I was able to go to good doctors but that sort of thing is very subjective.
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