At today’s budget workshop, City Commissioners unanimously approved of City staff’s plan to provide a $15/hour minimum wage for all permanent and OPS employees.
At the City of Tallahassee budget workshop today, elected officials will discuss workforce compensation and consider a staff recommendation that all permanent and Other Personnel Staff (OPS) employees be paid a minimum of $15 hour.
The agenda item states, “Recognizing the post-pandemic shifting market forces, the City is committed to ensuring our employees are properly compensated and that we can continue to attract and retain employees to ensure that we continue to be the national leader in the delivery of public services.”
For all permanent employees (2,199 FTEs) that are not in a collective bargaining unit, the FY22 proposed budget recommends a salary and benefits package resulting in an increase of up to 11.7% in take home pay for employees with family health coverage.
The recommended proposed salary & benefits package includes:
- 4.5% across-the-board base pay increase (with a guaranteed minimum of $2,500 salary increase for all employees earning less than $55,555).
- A 9.0% increase in employee FlexBucks equating to $177 annually.
- An annual reduction of $976 in employee health care insurance costs for employees with family coverage ($500 average reduction in health care costs across all health care plans).
Staff notes that across the board raises are required to mitigate the potential negative effects of the proposed $15 minimum wage.
Staff writes that there “is a risk that some staff currently earning above minimum wage or living wage thresholds that do not receive increases could feel inadequately compensated. Morale can drop substantially, and with it brings a decline in both the quality of delivered services and reduced retention of tenured staff. Providing raises across the board for all employees to combat the effects of this compression would put a large financial strain on the City.”
Employees will also receive two new paid holidays as previously approved by the City Commission including Emancipation Day on May 20, and Election Day, observed on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in even-numbered years. On average, the value of one additional holiday equates to $67,000 annually and $134,000 every other year.
The table below shows the impact of these recommendations to general employees that are in permanent positions, within several pay rates, and that are enrolled in family health plans:
At the last budget workshop in May, City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox asked that the staff come back with a plan to pay city employees a minimum of $15 a hour. Williams-Cox said “let’s go bold into the new world” while stating that the City of Tallahassee is leading on these issues.
The staff’s rationale for a $15 minimum wage is based on the following factors:
- Mirroring the experiences of many private sector organizations, the City has had difficulty hiring and retaining certain employees, such as lifeguards. The Consolidated Dispatch Agency (CDA) has had challenges recruiting for its emergency call operator openings, and its turnover rate has exceeded 25% for these critical positions.
- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Living Wage Calculator calculated a single adult’s living wage in Tallahassee at $12 per hour just a few years ago. More recently, the living wage for a single adult without children has increased to $13.89 per hour. The City’s planned compensation increases account for these market cost-of-living increases, and again demonstrate its commitment to providing a living wage to its employees.