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Six unexpected things S.F. city employees receive bonuses for 

Wednesday, Jan 26 2011

FROM WORKING UNDERWATER to knowing how to operate word-processing software, there are lots of ways for public employees to make a special bonus — called a "premium payment" — for doing certain kinds of work in San Francisco. Here are a few examples.

THE LIFE AQUATIC: If you're a trade worker or manual laborer, you make an additional $12 per hour, on top of your normal wage, when "assigned and actually engaged in duties and operations requiring underwater diving."

CAPITAL IDEA: For San Francisco, using in-house labor on its capital projects doesn't necessarily save money. In fact, many government planners, engineers and other employees receive an extra 5 percent of their salary while working on the city's ongoing overhaul of its water system.

MAN'S BEST FRIEND: Police officers assigned to "canine duty" — the handling and care of bomb- and drug-sniffing dogs — earn an additional 5 percent of their salaries.

SHRINKING LABOR POOL: Child psychiatrists employed by the city's Department of Public Health earn a 15 percent premium of their specified salaries, while ordinary psychiatrists earn a 5 percent premium. Elizabeth Jacobi, director of human resources at DPH, says the premiums have "been in place for a number of years" and were created to "address recruitment and retention challenges" in hiring psychiatrists.

NO FEAR OF HEIGHTS: Electricians working from scaffolding, towers, cranes, and other structures at an elevation of 30 feet or more receive an extra 75 cents per hour. Many other trade workers also receive versions of this "height premium."

NIGHT MOVES: You might think bus drivers expect to work some evenings and early mornings. They do — at a cost for taxpayers. Public transit workers are paid an additional 10 percent of their wages — separate from and in addition to overtime — for every hour they work between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.

About The Author

Peter Jamison


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