UPDATE (4/29): Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the FY 2013-14 budget into law, formalizing salary survey increase, merit pay and lower healthcare costs for state employees.
Original Post: In a win for Colorado’s public employees, the Colorado House of Representatives today approved the FY 2013-2014 budget, also known as the Long Bill, which includes a 2% base-building raise for state workers. The budget also contains additional funding for merit raises, for a total potential raise of 4.4% for high-performers at the bottom of their range.
Some state employees have questions about how the newly approved increases will affect them. See below for some of the most common Frequently Asked Questions.
- Can I expect a pay raise starting in July 2013?
- What does “base-building” increase mean?
- Is this raise across-the-board and will every employee get a base-building increase?
- Will I see a pay cut on July 1 if I’ve been moved above the range maximum as a result of DPA’s recent salary range readjustment?
- How do I figure out where I fall in my salary range?
- Which evaluation applies to my merit pay increase?
- Can I appeal my performance evaluation?
- Can departments limit how many employees receive merit pay?
- Is merit pay base-building?
- What happens if I am at the range maximum?
- Why aren’t we asking for more money?
- Won’t my raise just be eaten up by increased healthcare costs?
Want to print out a copy to share with your coworkers? You can download the PDF booklet here. You can also download a bulletin board poster to hang in your facility (large file size, please be patient).
Q. Can I expect a pay raise starting in July 2013?
A. Yes. Colorado WINS members led the effort to finally starting putting more money back into your paycheck. Members lobbied legislators and turned in nearly 1800 postcards, which moved the Joint Budget Committee to increase the salary survey from the Governor’s originally proposed 1.5% to 2%. Along with merit pay increases, some employees (high performers at bottom of their pay range) may get as much as a 4.4% increase. The full legislature must approve the Long Bill for the raise to go into effect. During debate on the budget on March 27, Senate Republicans attempted to reduce the 2% salary increase back down to 1.5% but Senate Democrats stood strong and the attempt failed.
Q. What does “base-building” increase mean?
A. A base-building increase is a permanent raise in your take home pay. If you receive a base-building increase you will see that increase in every paycheck starting July 2013.
Q. Is this raise across-the-board and will every employee get a base-building increase?
A. 99% of the state workforce will receive a 2% base-building increase in their paychecks starting this July. WINS worked with Dept. of Personnel and Administration (DPA) to ensure that the maximum number possible of employees will receive a 2% increase. Those steps include,
- DPA will back out of their Enforcement and Protective Services salary survey redesign. In other words, the dramatic changes to CO I-III and case manager pay ranges will not take place in FY13-14.
- 2% will be added to the range maximums in every job classification within the personnel system.
After these steps are taken approximately 500 state employees will still be significantly beyond their range maximums, or in “saved pay,” due to unique circumstances. Those employees will receive a one-time, 2% non-base-building lump sum payment at the end of FY13-14. Keep checking back for updates with the latest information.
Q. Will I see a pay cut on July 1 if I’ve been moved above the range maximum as a result of DPA’s recent salary range readjustment?
A. No. No one should experience a pay cut on July 1, 2013. “Saved pay” provisions mean that there is a 3-year hold on implementation of any pay cuts necessary to move employees back within range. The earliest anyone would experience a pay cut would be July 1, 2016. WINS members should contact our legal team if your pay is cut due to range movement.
If you are part of the Enforcement and Protective Services class the dramatic changes to the CO I-III and Case Manager pay ranges will not take place in FY13-14. DPA has decided to hold off on those proposed changes. Colorado WINS has requested a “system maintenance study” so that DPA can do a more careful examination of the ranges.
Q. How do I figure out where I fall in my salary range?
A. Salary ranges are available on DPA’s under “Compensation Plan.” You can also request the salary range chart from your department’s Human Resources office.
Q. Can I appeal my performance evaluation?
A. If you wish to dispute your score, there is a statewide dispute resolution process that WINS legal staff can help guide you through. There is no legal recourse unless a state law or administrative rule was violated. WINS cannot provide legal representation in this dispute resolution process.
Q. Can departments limit how many employees receive merit pay?
A. No. Quotas are explicitly prohibited in the merit pay system. The merit pay system is structured in such a way that it removes any financial incentive for departments to institute quotas. These funds may only be used for merit pay and any unused funds revert to each department’s merit pay account. Also, unlike the old system, under the new merit pay system employees who receive an overall score of “2” on their evaluation will receive a merit pay increase and not just employees who receive a “3.”
Q. Is merit pay base-building?
A. Yes. Merit pay is designed to move workers through their salary ranges so they are base-building for employees in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quartile. For employees who are in the 4th quartile of their classification’s salary band, merit pay will be paid as a one-time bonus.
Q. What happens if I am at the range maximum?
A. In the past these lump-sum payments have been awarded at the end of the of the fiscal year, but DPA has not yet confirmed if that will be the case this year.
Q. Why aren’t we asking for more money?
A. Certainly state employees have endured a lot in the last 4 years and longer for some. And just as state employees were asked to make sacrifices over a number of years we will not be able to make up all of the financial ground lost in just one year. If you listen to the debate on the budget you will hear that Republicans are overwhelmingly opposed to any meaningful raises for state employees. Democrats have held strong to their commitments to the state workforce and we’ve made very good progress.
Since last year, WINS successfully did away with the 2.5% PERA cost shift, scrapped Pay for Performance for a new merit pay system and secured funding for merit pay. WINS fought hard for the base-building increase – it is a permanent increase in an employee’s salary and future raises will be built upon this new base. A stronger union with more members will allow us to make further progress and regain ground that was lost in recent years.
Q. Won’t my raise just be eaten up by increased healthcare costs?
A. No. Colorado WINS members worked hard to ensure that healthcare premium increases will be fully covered by the state. WINS members are also hard at work to design a wellness program for the state workforce that will provide a meaningful premium rebate for those who voluntarily choose to participate.