Gov. Rick Scott signed a state worker pay raise into law Wednesday, marking the first time in over a decade that employees are getting an across-the-board raise.
All employees who earn $40,000 a year or less will get a $1,400 raise, and employees who earn more than $40,000 a year will get a $1,000 raise. The raises go into effect July 1, the start of the state’s fiscal year.
Most state law enforcement officers will get a 5 percent raise, and most correctional officers will get a $2,500 raise. Judges, elected state attorneys and public defenders will get 10 percent pay hikes.
The pay raise bill makes mandatory changes to state workers' benefits that prompted some Democratic legislators to vote against the measure (SB 7022).
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New state employees after Jan. 1, 2018, will default from the state pension plan to an investment plan, and employees will have nine months after being hired to elect a pension or investment plan.
State agencies have been hobbled by high employee turnover for many years, and a big reason is low pay compared to similar jobs in county government or in other states. The Herald/Times has reported that over the past seven years, nearly half of the work force of the Florida Highway Patrol has left. The starting pay for a rookie trooper has not increased since 2005.