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Lawmakers consider biweekly pay for state employees

by Cameron Gerber | January 25, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
Missouri Rep. Dave Griffith listens and takes notes as Gov. Mike Parson gives his annual State of the State Address on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. (Ethan Weston/News Tribune photo)


State employees may see a change to their pay schedules if approved by the Missouri Legislature on top of a proposed wage increase.

Rep. Dave Griffith, R-Jefferson City, said he was approached by the Office of Administration (OA) to sponsor his HB 2090 -- an opportunity he readily accepted.

While state employees are currently paid on the 1st and the 16th of each month, Griffith's bill would allow them to be paid on the same day every two weeks, increasing the number of pay periods from 24 to 26 in a typical year.

 

Griffith said the change would allow state workers, many of whom are his constituents, to better budget for the regular expenses and for special occasions, such as holidays.

"Many of our state employees live paycheck-to-paycheck, and some of them not only have jobs here with the state but other jobs. ... Some even have other full-time jobs in order to provide for their family," Griffith said. "This is a very common-sense bill, one that I think is going to be a real benefit to them."

Griffith said transitioning away from monthly paydays several years ago had been an improvement for state workers, but another slight adjustment would give them even more leeway to manage their finances.

Since the proposal was brought to him by OA, which handles pay and coordinates manage functions the various state departments, Griffith said the reform was part of the state's vision for the future of its workforce.

Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Henderson, R-Bonne Terre, noted the change would not require a fiscal note or state funds to complete.

"As I represent Jefferson City, the state is the largest employer in my district," Griffith continued. "This is just another common-sense change I hope we can make to help them at no real cost."

While there were no witnesses to testify during Monday's hearing, Griffith's bill received support from across the aisle. Rep. Bridget Walsh Moore, D-St. Louis, noted the proposal had come before the Legislature numerous times through the years but had never made it across the finish line.

"We've heard this bill several times. Do we know why we can't get this done?" Moore said. "Hopefully when the budget passes with their pay increase, we can maybe slide this in there with that."

The effort has been before lawmakers several times during the past few years, spearheaded by legislators on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers, though it has failed to make it to the floor for passage each time.

The conversation resumes as the Legislature and the governor's office turns their attention to a proposed $15 minimum wage and 5.5. percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for state employees. Comments on the increase drew a standing ovation from lawmakers and guests during Gov. Mike Parson's State of the State address last week.

Griffith has been a vocal proponent of the proposed wage increase alongside other local lawmakers Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, and Rep. Rudy Veit, R-Wardsville. The trio encouraged the Missouri House to approve the proposal, which the governor's office hoped to see passed by the beginning of February, and named it among their top priorities with the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce.

Missouri is home to more than 50,000 state employees, according to the Office of Administration. More than 14,000 of them live in the Jefferson City area, according to statistics from the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce.


HB 2090: Allows state employees to be paid biweekly

https://bit.ly/3ArwoT0

Sponsor: Rep. Dave Griffith

See also:

Parson pay raise plan in limbo as $5.4 billion spending bill awaits vote

 



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