Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat

Calaveras County government workers will be paid more during the next three years but will gradually take on more responsibility for their own retirement costs, as a result of agreements concluded last week.

Costs to the county are estimated at about $429,000 spread out over the three-year period.

The "memoranda of understanding" were approved by a 5-0 vote Jan. 8 of the county Board of Supervisors and in most cases are retroactive to Jan. 1.

Employees will see 2.5 percent cost-of-living increases this year and the next, followed by a 4 percent hike in 2015.

Cost of health care contributions will remain unchanged this year but can be re-opened for bargaining each of the next two years.

For those represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, the largest bargaining unit of county workers, the employee retirement contribution to the California Public EmployeesRetirement System will increase from 3 percent to 5 percent this year and 7 percent with no county payment of that portion of retirement costs next year.

Payment for employees on standby will increase from $2 to $3 an hour.

The definition of sick leave usage for care to immediate family members is expanded, including siblings and grandparents.

The SEIU covers 227 county employees and added costs of the labor deal are estimated at a combined $191,000 for the next three years, according to Calaveras County Human Resources Director Francine Osborn.

Members of the Calaveras County Public Safety Employees Association will see their share of the employee contribution costs rise from zero to 3 percent this year, to6 percent next year and a full 7 percent in 2014. The unit represents non-sworn deputies working in law enforcement such as dispatchers and service technicians. The three-year cost of the deal is $147,800.

A similar agreement with the Sheriff's Management Unit, representing just two captains and lieutenants in the Sheriff's Office, bumps employee retirement contributions from 3 to 6 percent this year and a full 9 percent in 2014. That deal will cost about $22,400 across the next three years.

Elected officials, appointed department heads and mid-level supervisors will get the same added pension contribution responsibilities as the SEIU block, costing the county an estimated $32,800 over the three-year period for the elected officers and $35,300 for the appointed officials and supervisors.