Governor Laura Kelly Announces Salary Increase for State Employees in 24/7 Facilities to Address Staff Shortages
Governor Laura Kelly today announced a series of new salary initiatives designed to address critical staff shortages at several 24/7 public facilities, including Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) facilities, public hospitals of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) and Kansas. Veterans’ homes of the Veterans Office of the Veterans Commission (KCVAO).
“My administration and the Kansas Department of Corrections have worked over the past three years to address staff shortages and overcrowding that have impacted prisons for years,” Governor Kelly said. âBut even after implementing a salary increase for correctional officers in 2019, Kansas, like the rest of the country, faced new challenges caused by COVID-19. This new compensation plan is a necessary step to meet the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic, support our efforts to prioritize public health and safety and take care of our most vulnerable populations. “
Kansas is not alone in being understaffed. States in the United States have experienced extremely low staffing levels in 24/7 facilities including Nebraska, Florida and Arkansas to name a few. Each of these states has implemented various compensation plans designed to deal with similar staff shortages.
The Kansas plan is comprehensive and will offer both long-term and temporary pay increases, including a permanent increase in base salary and temporary pay differentials, with âdifferential compensationâ defined as additional compensation for employees during extraordinary periods of staff shortages.
The compensation plan includes the following for government employees:
- Permanent base salary increases for all KDOC job classes and nursing job classes
- Temporary pay differentials for hourly employees in the following areas:
- Differential # 1: All the staff of the establishment 24/7
- Differential # 2: KDOC security personnel in uniform in 24/7 facilities
- Differential # 3: Nursing staff in 24/7 facilities
- Differential # 4: All staff working in 24/7 facilities that are designated at “critical staffing levels” with vacancy rates of 25% (or more).
- One-off bonuses of $ 3,500 for salaried staff at KDOC, KDADS and KCVAO facilities 24/7.
“The staff at our 24/7 facility are the frontline workers for some of the most needed and frankly thankless jobs we do for Kansans.” Governor Kelly said. “These pay increases are well deserved – and my administration will continue to work to support our government employees and their families.”
âKansas Department of Corrections employees are committed to their service to promote safer communities statewide. This has never been more evident than in recent months, when vacancies forced our employees to take on more responsibilities and work more hours to fulfill the agency’s mission â, KDOC Secretary Jeff Zmuda said. âThe Governor’s Compensation Plan recognizes the incredible contributions our employees make to public safety and is a great incentive to retain their experience and commitment to the organization while providing an opportunity for relief as more and more job seekers join them in our workforce. “
“Governor Kelly’s plan is an excellent step towards ensuring the safety of workers and the communities they serve” said KOSE President Sarah LaFrenz. “These pay increases and differentials mean that frontline workers like correctional officers and state hospital staff could finally get the safe levels of staff they need and an appropriate salary for their unthinkable sacrifices on behalf of Kansans. . As facilities across the country face a personnel crisis that endangers the public, workers and their families, this plan is showing real leadership in making and addressing this crisis a real priority. . We will continue, as we always have, to advocate directly with the governor, his administration, and the Kansas legislature for a final long-term solution. “
Kansas law prohibits several job-related bonus tools, such as retention bonuses, for state employees that are available in other states. The law also limits the amount that can be paid to staff during a single financial year. Governor Kelly’s plan recommends the maximum bonus for salaried staff permitted by current law.
The pay increases will be phased in with the base pay increases taking effect over the next pay period, starting November 28. Governor Kelly will issue an executive directive authorizing the initial salary increases and paying them with the agency’s existing funds. She will work with the legislative branch to fund the remainder of the compensation plan and fully implement it as soon as possible.
The incentive program focuses on, but is not limited to: juvenile correctional officers, correctional officers, nurses and others who provide direct care. In addition, Governor Kelly also orders KDOC to purchase and deliver Multi-Threat Tactical Safety Vests to all Correctional Officers who work in 24/7 facilities.
Please find the Kansas map here.