SAN JOSE (CBS/AP) — A Bay Area newspaper is calling attention to what it says is a costly and little-known perk of public employment — having some or all of the employee’s pension contributions covered by taxpayers.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that 63,713 government workers at Bay Area agencies large and small had at least part of what was supposed to be their share of their retirement plans picked up last year with $221 million in public funds.

The practice is legal. It’s a way of boosting employees’ pay and usually results from union negotiations or contacts managers bargain for themselves.

But the Mercury News says it is being abolished in some instances as a way to curb personnel costs.

It’s unclear how many employees statewide receive the benefit because the California Public Employees Retirement System doesn’t keep track.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)


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