The Legislature funded a 3% COLA for state employees with additional funding for targeted increases. The Governor’s office is in the process of finalizing the list for the targeted funding increases. The Legislature also approved funding for the employer’s share of the $6.6 million PEHP increase and funded the 401(k) match (up to $26 per pay period).
At the beginning of the 2021 Legislative Session, lawmakers included a 3% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) into the base budget. The base budget includes budgetary items that the state of Utah is required to fund each year. It is the foundation that all other appropriation requests are built upon.
When the pandemic began the need to adjust to the uncertainty related to state funding became apparent. In May 2020, the Legislature pulled back funds in all areas of state government. When the legislature began the 2021 Session it included the 3% COLA in the base budget, this reinstated the increase for state employees.
During the 2021 legislative session, UPEA staff continued their efforts to educate legislators on the sacrifices state employees made to protect the safety of Utah’s citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. UPEA also advocated for the savings from the Program II sick leave unfunded liability of $12.9 million be placed in employee compensation. That funding will be used for the targeted increases in various agencies.
The compensation package for state employees did not include everything UPEA requested. However, the legislature prioritized necessary funding for targeted increases for positions that are paid below market.