Bill approves bonus for state employees

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OKLAHOMA CITY—A bill that would affect some state workers’ paychecks was approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

House Bill 1717 would authorize a $1,000 performance-based bonus to state employees.

It would also initiate a study of state employee compensation for the next year.

“The intent of the legislation is to address under-staffing due to low pay in areas such as corrections, public safety and child welfare,” said Rep. Leslie Osborn. “My legislation creates a one-time bonus of $1,000 as an incentive to help retain critical employees such as those who man our corrections facilities and haven’t received a raise since 2006, but it’s the study this bill authorizes that is really going to help create a market-based system that will address the need to make salaries more competitive.”

According to the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, entry-level child welfare specialists are paid about 23 percent below the market standard.

Also, corrections officers begin at $11.83 per hour.

“The state can’t keep jails adequately staffed at the current level of pay,” said Osborn. “We have to start making those salaries more competitive with the other job opportunities that are available for potential employees.”

HB 1717 was approved by the House and now heads to the state Senate.

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