UPDATE: Sure, take the time off..but forget about pay

Reporter Dan Abendschein was told this morning that El Monte staffers will be on an unpaid furlough through Jan. 5, starting some time this week.

Of course, El Monte is not the only state agency imposing furloughs, the LA Times reports. *But is it legal.

Schwarzenegger orders mass layoffs, unpaid furloughs

Union leaders for state employees vow to challenge the legality of the mandatory time off, which amounts to about a 9% pay cut according to the governor’s finance department.
By Patrick McGreevy and Jordan Rau
December 20, 2008
Reporting from Sacramento — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday ordered mass layoffs and unpaid furloughs for state workers starting in February to address California’s growing fiscal crisis.

Under his executive order, 238,000 employees will be forced to take off two unpaid days per month through June 30, 2010. Managers will receive either the furlough or an equivalent salary reduction during the same period.

H.D. Palmer, spokesman for Schwarzenegger’s finance department, said the mandatory time off is the equivalent of about a 9% pay cut for affected workers. He said the furloughs would save the state more than $1.2 billion.

It is unclear how many people will lose their jobs. Palmer said each department will have to cut its payroll by 10% and will make its own decisions on how many workers must go.