ALBANY, NY (WRGB) — Tonight we're learning of a major side effect of the pandemic -- and you paid for it.
Overtime at state agencies skyrocketed in 2020 as the state worked to deal with pandemic problems.
As you might imagine, agencies that handled unemployment claims and health issues saw huge spikes in OT.
MORE: DOL hiring employees to help with unemployment claims
What might be hard to grasp is just how staggeringly high some of the numbers are.
At the state Department of Labor, there usually isn't much overtime -- but last year, dealing with a massive number of claims and a system that was overwhelmed, the OT numbers were overwhelming.
MORE: Labor Department says more than $12 Billion in unemployment fraud has been stopped
Here's a look -- and that first one is not a typo -- overtime at the labor department was up 17,908 percent. That's right 17,908 percent.
OT was up 288 percent at the Department of Health and up 243 percent at the Department of Taxation and Finance. The increases are so big because these are three departments that don't usually incur a lot of overtime.
In a statement Peter Brancato, the Associate Commissioner for Strategic Communications, explains the spike , saying in part, quote --
"The employees of the New York State Department of Labor have been working around the clock since the onset of this pandemic to assist New Yorkers. NYS DOL employees graciously sacrificed weekends, holidays, birthdays, and time with their family to put the needs of their fellow New Yorkers ahead of their own."