Change in Employee Compensation to recommend 3% raise for state employees

By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports 

The Change in Employee Compensation Committee reached an agreement Tuesday on how state employees will be compensated next year.

Rep. Scott Syme, R-Caldwell, proposed offering a 3% salary structure raise and up to a $1.25 per hour merit raise. 

The compensation schedule would be shifted upwards by 3% at all pay grades, with the exception of “pay grade D” where the minimum shall stay at $7.25, the state minimum wage. 

The recommendation also offers a merit raise of up to $1.25 per hour for permanent employees. Syme’s motion also recommends giving agency heads the authority to use any unused funds for retention and recruitment.

Syme wanted to focus on the retention of low-level employees, making note that if the committee went with a 3% merit raise for everyone, that 3% is a lot more if an employee is already making $100,000 a year, compared to a person making $12 an hour.

Syme’s motion passed in a 6-4 vote.

Sen. Jeff Agenbroad, R-Nampa, voted against Syme’s motion. He said he feared it would tie the hands of state agency directors.

“My concern with the motion is that with the fixed dollar amount we create compression between the pay structures and at least from my history, compression can become difficult to deal with and can hurt morale,” Agenbroad said. 

Committee members also expressed concern about the current inflation rate and keeping state employees whole, but also not raising pay so much that they would later be forced to reduce salary.

Sen. Jim Guthrie, R-McCammon, suggested following Gov. Brad Little’s recommendation, which was a 2% overall raise and a 3% merit raise. Guthrie’s motion failed in a 5-5 tie vote. 

The CEC recommendation will now go before the Joint Finance Appropriation Committee for review.

Editor’s note: Idaho Public Television is an agency of the State of Idaho. Idaho Reports employees are state employees and would be subject to any adopted change in pay.

<strong>Ruth Brown</strong> | Producer
Ruth Brown | Producer

Ruth Brown grew up in South Dakota and her first job out of college was covering the South Dakota Legislature. She’s since moved on to Idaho lawmakers. Brown spent 10 years working in print journalism, including newspapers such as the Idaho Statesman and Idaho Press, where she’s covered everything from the correctional system to health care issues. She joined Idaho Reports in 2021 and looks forward to telling stories about how state policy can impact the lives of regular Idahoans.

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