Governor approves pay raises for classified, unclassified

2:16:05 PM CDT - Wednesday, May 03, 2006

By Amy Geiszler-Jones

Under legislation signed in April by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, WSU's classified employees will receive their first step increase in five years, according to WSU's human resources director.

The governor also approved general increases, commonly called cost-of-living adjustments, for classified employees, along with an hourly salary increase to retain and recruit for certain trade jobs and an increase to the salary merit pool for unclassified professionals.

Up until July 2001, state classified employees had received pay increases, called step increases, following the anniversary of their hiring date, if they had a satisfactory or higher rating on their annual evaluation. The step matrix included a maximum cap.

This year marks the first time since then that classified employees will get the step increases, said Mike Turner, director of human resources. Employees who are on step 15 or lower of their pay grade and who have at least a satisfactory rating will be moved to the next step, effective Sept. 10.

Classified employees on the top step of their pay grade will also receive an increase equivalent to a single step, Turner said.

The single step movement will mean about a 2.5 percent base pay rate increase, according to a memo distributed by Turner. The increase will be reflected in employees' Oct. 6 paychecks.

Classified employees will also receive a 1.5 percent general increase that will be reflected in their July 14 paychecks. This will be the first time in two years that such an increase will be given for the entire fiscal year.

When a 2.5 percent increase was given in FY 2006, 1.5 percent took effect for half the year, and then the full amount was given later. In FY 2004, the state authorized the COLA for only 23 of the 26 pay periods for state workers.

The governor also approved a 30-cents-an-hour retention incentive pay hike for some skilled jobs. That move will affect primarily Physical Plant employees at WSU such as carpenters, certified asbestos workers, electricians and plumbers.

"We believe (their pay) is outside the marketplace, and we've had trouble recruiting those jobs," said Turner. The pay hike will help keep and hire workers in those jobs, he said.

The governor approved a 2 percent increase to the salary pool for unclassified professionals, who are given base pay increases based on merit.

Faculty will also receive a 2 percent increase to the salary pool, plus another 1 percent from the final year of Senate Bill 345 funding, an act that included money to increase faculty salaries. Faculty increases are also based on merit.

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