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About SFOpenBook - Employee Compensation

Table of Contents What is SFOpenBook?
SFOpenBook is the City and County of San Francisco’s transparency website, providing residents, journalists and others with interactive tools to understand City financial, economic and government performance data. To learn more about the other parts of this website, such as our Economic and Government Performance Barometers, budget, and actual Spending and Revenue including vendor payments, view the Frequently Asked Questions about SFOpenBook.

What is SFOpenBook - Employee Compensation?
The SFOpenBook - Employee Compensation tool is a searchable, user-friendly public site that allows you to look up the actual compensation paid to City employees. You can also use the link Get Dataset from SF Data provided on the report to get the full dataset.

How can I use the reporting tool?
After making required and optional filter and output column selections, click GO to proceed.
  • The available optional output columns are Department, Job Family, and Union. Job is always displayed on the report.
  • Year Type and Year are required selections; Department, Job Family, Union, and Job are optional.
  • Note that excluding some or all of the optional filters may cause the report to run more slowly.
  • Selecting all of the items within a filter will yield the same results as selecting no items but causes the report to run much more slowly, so the best way to retrieve all items within a filter is to not use the filter at all.
  • Use either Job Family, Union or the search to narrow the list of Jobs and then select specific jobs from the Job list. After the desired selections have been made from the Job Family or Union filter, click the "Filter list by Job Family (Union) selections" button to narrow the Job list options. Or simply select one or more Job Families or Unions (without selecting anything from the Job list) to report on all the jobs in the selected Families or Unions.
  • The Job Search function can be used to find jobs by name instead of selecting from the filters. Enter the beginning of a keyword (or use the "Options" submenu to specify different search logic) and click Search to retrieve the matching results. Then, select the desired jobs from the list of results and click Insert to add those jobs to the filter.
What information can I find here?
The report consists of salary and benefit data from the City and County of San Francisco's payroll system. Salaries are classified by type of pay, including regular salaries, overtime, and other salaries. Benefits are categorized as retirement, health benefits, or other benefits.

What items are included in the salary and benefit categories?
  • Salaries: normal salaries paid to permanent or temporary City employees.
  • Overtime: amounts paid to City employees working in excess of 40 hours per week.
  • Other salaries: various irregular payments made to City employees including premium pay, incentive pay, or other one-time payments.
  • Retirement: City contributions to employee retirement plans.
  • Health/Dental: City-paid premiums to health and dental insurance plans covering City employees. To protect confidentiality as legally required, pro-rated citywide averages are presented in lieu of employee-specific health and dental benefits.
  • Other benefits: mandatory benefits paid on behalf of employees, such as Social Security (FICA and Medicare) contributions, unemployment insurance premiums, and minor discretionary benefits not included in the above categories.
What are the definitions of the various output columns?
  • Department: Departments are the primary organizational unit used by the City and County of San Francisco. Examples include Recreation and Parks, Public Works, and the Police Department.
  • Job Family: Job Family combines similar Jobs into meaningful groups.
  • Union: Unions represent employees in collective bargaining agreements. A job belongs to one union, although some jobs are unrepresented (usually temporarily).
  • Job: Jobs are defined by the Human Resources classification unit. Examples include gardeners, police officers, and accountants.
What information will I not find here?
Employee-paid benefits and employee payroll deductions (e.g. a deduction for an employee's mortgage payment) are not included. To protect confidentiality as legally required, employee-specific health and dental benefits are not reported. Pro-rated citywide averages are presented instead.

Why are salaries in the same job so different?
Each row is showing the actual amount an employee earned in a particular job and department. An employee may have only been paid for part of the year (e.g. one 2 week period, or several months) because they are new, or because they have left city employment. Or one employee may have worked part of the year in a one department or job and then transferred to another department or job.

Why are there some negative amounts in the data?
Negative amounts generally represent adjustments made to employees' pay that were associated with a different time period, expenditure category, or job than the original payment. An example of this would be an employee who was erroneously overpaid at the end of Fiscal Year 2013 with an adjustment to correct the mistake not occurring until the beginning of Fiscal Year 2014. If this employee received no other payments in Fiscal Year 2014 for the same department and job, the report would show only this adjustment for the employee as a negative amount.

How does this data differ from other sources?
The data on the SFOpenBook - Employee Compensation report may not match the high-level data available on the SFOpenBook - Spending & Revenue Report, or from other sources such as the City's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). This is because entries are made in the City's accounting system to move or adjust recorded expenditures to better reflect actual City activity. These entries are not made at the employee level in the City's payroll data or reflected in the SFOpenBook - Employee Compensation report, although they are included in the accounting level data on the SFOpenBook - Spending & Revenue Report.

How far back does the data go?
Data is available from July, 2012 forward.

Why isn't there more history available?
The City and County of San Francisco implemented a new and improved payroll system during Fiscal Year 2013 that allows for a greater level of reporting detail. Data from the prior system is not comparable to the new data, so it is unavailable for reporting.

What periods are included in the fiscal and calendar year reports?
The City and County of San Francisco uses a July to June fiscal year, and selecting "Fiscal Year" as the year type will yield data for July of the previous year through June of the selected year. For example, selecting "Fiscal Year" as the year type and "2014" as the year will cause the tool to present payroll data from July 2013 until June 2014. If "Calendar Year" is instead selected as the year type with "2014" as the year, the report will provide data from January 2014 through December 2014.

How often is the website updated?
SFOpenBook - Employee Compensation is updated twice each year after all expenditures for the most recent reporting period have posted to the City's financial system: in July for fiscal year data, and in January for calendar year data.