In response to a news story about state employee longevity pay, the Oklahoma Public Employees Association issued a press release asking the Tulsa World and the Daily Oklahoman to publish the full story about state employee compensation and longevity pay.
The Tulsa World published a story about state employee “bonuses” which was also reprinted in the Oklahoman on Sunday. The article criticized longevity pay, which is a lump sum payment state employees receive on their anniversary date equal to approximately $100 for each year of service. In addition, the article reported that 16 state employees received longevity pay of $8,000.
“As far as I know, we don’t have any employees who have worked for the state for eighty years to receive an $8,000 longevity check,” said OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley. “The average state employee longevity check is approximately $1,000.”
“Longevity pay is an important part of state employee total compensation,” Zearley continued. “State employees haven’t received a pay raise since 2006. Longevity is critical to help retain experienced workers to provide essential state services.”
In 1984, step increases were removed from state jobs and state employees became dependent on the political process for pay raises. Unlike the federal government, teachers and the Highway Patrol, Oklahoma state employees do not receive step increases. Teacher steps of $400 per year and Highway Patrol steps of as much as $3,700 per year in the first seven years add to base salary. State employee longevity is a lump sum payment that does not increase salaries.
According to the Office of Personnel Management state employee compensation lags the Oklahoma market by 16 percent. Longevity is included in the calculation.
“It is time state leaders addressed the issue of state employee total compensation,” concluded Zearley. “State employees have critical jobs that affect the daily lives of Oklahoma’s citizens. We must provide a competitive package of salary, health insurance, and retirement in order to recruit and retain Oklahoma’s workers.”
Mon, June 20, 2011
by Nancy Hughes