April 1 Pay Period Brings Longevity Bonuses for State Employees Senator McKinney Says Costly Practice Must Stop

March 31, 2011

Hartford, CT – Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-28) today called for an end to the practice of providing twice-a-year bonuses to thousands of state employees for simply staying on the job for 10 years or more.

The state’s April 1st pay period will include a “longevity payment” for more than 30,000 state employees. To pay for this expense, $18 million will be deducted from the state’s General Fund and Special Transportation Fund.

“Many people might think these longevity payments to union and non-union state employees are an April Fool’s joke,” Senator McKinney said. “Unfortunately, the joke is on Connecticut taxpayers. Taxpayers are on the hook for about almost $40 million a year to pay for these bonuses. To eliminate our multi-billion budget gap, we must cut these types of expenses and adopt real reductions in spending. Connecticut should not be burdening families and businesses to cover this excess. State government cannot afford to do this.”

Longevity pay is a form of compensation which rewards an employee for remaining with an employer beyond a certain period of time. Connecticut state employees begin receiving twice-a-year payments upon reaching 10 years of state service. They then receive increases in those payments after they reach 15, 20, and 25 years of service. The payments, which are provided in addition to cost of living adjustments, are issued in the April 1st and October 1st pay periods.

“It is important to note that these payments are based solely on a person’s years of service,” said Senator McKinney. “Job performance does not factor into the equation. You get your bonus no matter what. Given our unprecedented fiscal crisis, we can no longer afford these longevity payments.”

In October of 2010, Connecticut’s 3,582 non-union employees and 28,175 union employees each received a longevity payment costing the state $19.7 million. The nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates the payments will cost the state’s General and Special Transportation Fund $34.5 million in each of the next two fiscal years.

The General Assembly tabled a measure last year which would have eliminated longevity payments, but Senator McKinney noted that this issue has bipartisan support.

“Although Governor Malloy began his term by cutting these payments to a small portion of his staff, this should not be the last step taken with respect to the issue. It may be too late to take action on the April payments, but the legislature must get serious and end this costly practice going forward,” Senator McKinney said.