OKLAHOMA CITY – A measure that would provide a $1,000 performance payment for those state employees that meet performance evaluation standards has passed a full vote of the House of Representatives.
House Bill 1794, by state Rep. Mike Christian, would reward classified and non-classified state employees with the performance payment to help offset paycheck losses to things such as premium increases and inflation. The measure passed 92-0.
“To better compete with the private sector job base, we must begin to address the issue of pay for our state employees,” said Rep. Christian, R-Oklahoma City. “The simple fact is that our state employees are leaving for higher-paying jobs in the private sector, which ends up hurting the core services we provide to the citizens of the state. This performance pay plan – which I worked alongside the Oklahoma Public Employees Association to craft – will only go to those who have met or exceeded satisfactory performance evaluation marks and will absolutely help state employees stay at jobs they love and not look elsewhere.”
It is estimated the state of Oklahoma currently has between 34,000-35,000 state employees. The last employee compensation adjustment, a 5-percent performance pay adjustment, came in 2006.
“Our state employees have been underpaid for far too long,” Rep. Christian said. “Right now, state employees make, on average, 19 percent less than their private sector counterparts. And because of the recent change in the benefit allowance, state employees are on track to lose $1,300 from their paycheck this year. Next year, health insurance premiums will likely go up, meaning another sledgehammer to their checks. OPEA and I will continue to work to bring state employee compensation to a level that is competitive with other employers in order to recruit and retain qualified workers to serve the people of Oklahoma.”
“In the past four years, the state employee base has shrunk by nearly 4,000, via moving on to other jobs or taking retirement and those jobs not being re-staffed. That has saved the state $200 million per year in the state budget. The money is there to re-invest it in our current state employees so we can retain them and create some real stability, which will pay off for Oklahomans across the state.”