NASHVILLE – Over the last two years, funding was set aside in the General Appropriation bill for the FY 2013-2014 salary policy – effective as of July 1, 2013. Included in that policy was a 1.5% across-the-board (ATB) salary increase for all employees, funding for a Compensation (Salary) Study and money reserved to raise employees’ salaries pursuant to implementation of the salary study.
Every employee employed with the state, unless otherwise excluded by statute or on terminal leave, will receive a 1.5% salary increase effective as of July 1st, 2013. Therefore, all employees can expect to see at least a 1.5% raise reflected in their July 31st paycheck.
As of July 1st, the new Compensation plans go into effect. Most employees should have already received from their Human Resources Office (or TSEA) the state’s salary calculator. Employees can use the calculator to estimate their new salary. The salary calculator is also available on the TSEA website (tseaonline.org) for your convenience.
According to the state, every position in state government was analyzed and compared to market value. Salary ranges were then adjusted to 100% of market value, and any employees whose salary fell below the new minimum had their salary increased to the new minimum.
Next, salaries were adjusted up to “market value” (also being defined as the salary range midpoint), which will result in an upward bump in pay (not to exceed 4.75%) toward the midpoint of the new salary range for those employees under the midpoint of their new range.
If, after the 1.5% ATB increase, an employee’s salary is below the new minimum, that employee’s salary will be adjusted at least to the new minimum, then further upward toward the midpoint not to exceed the lesser of an 8.5% total increase or a 4.75% increase beyond the minimum.
If, after the 1.5% ATB increase, an employee requires more than 8.5% to reach the new minimum, that employee will be raised to the new minimum, but will not receive any additional increase toward the midpoint.
If, after the 1.5% ATB increase, an employee’s salary is below the new midpoint, but above new minimum, that employee will receive up to a 4.75% bump toward and up to the new midpoint. I.e. if you only require 2.5% to reach the midpoint, then you will only receive 2.5% (or a total of 4%, 1.5% ATB + 2.5% adjustment)
The state is, however, also reporting that the study found 14% of state employees are at or above the midpoint of the new salary range. This means that, while those employees will still receive the 1.5% ATB raise, those employees will not see any additional increase at this time.
TSEA has heard from many state employees about the salary study. Some employees are pleased with their new estimated pay while others are upset and confused about their predicted salaries.
TSEA will need some time to review the actual study. It is possible that we will need to lobby members of the Legislature to conduct a salary compression study, now that the salary study has been implemented, to alleviate any negative results of a well-intentioned pay plan that doesn’t seem to take years of service into account.
When money is set aside for state employees, it is generally a good thing. We fought long and hard to be included in the budget, rather than after the budget, and we are pleased to receive the attention and the funding that we are currently receiving. We must, however, be careful not to send a message to all those state employees who have served the state for 25, 30, 35 years or more that their loyalty and contributions to Tennessee are not valued. When we do that, there is a disincentive to remain loyal and we risk becoming a free training ground for the private sector.
We can attract the best and the brightest without overlooking the experienced and loyal among us.