Legislators agreed earlier this session to embrace the governor’s recommended 5 percent employee compensation package but took an alternative approach to covering anticipated increases in health care coverage.
The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee included the merit increase within the respective budgets of all state agencies this year rather than issuing a concurrent resolution to outline salary increases.
The net effect, explains ITD Human Resources Manager Mary Harker, is that employees can expect salary increases ranging from about 2.75 percent to 5 percent, depending on performance, position in pay range and for some, their job classification. Targeted positions that historically are difficult to fill – or retain employees for – likely will receive additional targeted pay increases.
“The state’s rational is that high-performing employees should advance more rapidly than other employees,” Harker said, explaining the new merit matrix system.
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter recommended the additional allocation of 5 percent for salary increases, but suggested during his 2007 budget address that employees should bear more of the increased health insurance costs.
Instead, legislators agreed to use part of the Department of Administration’s reserve account to cover the employees’ costs of rising health care coverage.
The CEC (change in employee compensation) includes three important provisions, Harker explains:
Once salary increase details have been finalized, department policy will be drafted and increases will be processed. Supervisors willl be given a spreadsheet listing the amount of increase their employees will receive. In turn, they willcommunicate the increases to individual employees. Human Resources will then send a copy of the pay action to employees.
Harker said no decision has been made on whether the department will be able to provide bonuses for employees who are at or near the top level of their salary range. If bonuses are awarded, they must be for exemplary performance.
ITD’s compensation team hopes to recommend the matrix-based merit increases to the Executive Team on April 2; The compensation team includes Harker, Deputy Director Scott Stokes, Sue Simmons, Larry Falkner, Steve Hutchinson, Joel Drake and Dave Tolman.