Friday is a sort of payday for 270,000 Georgia state, public universities and K-12 employees.
For the 100,000 state and university employees, it is the first day that a $5,000 pay rise will go into effect. A $2,000 bonus is on the way before June 30 for the 170,000 K-12 employees.
The more than $800 million in additional compensation was pushed into the amended budget by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and the legislature for the remaining three months of the state fiscal year. They tried to bring forward a pay raise so the money would get into employees’ pockets quickly in an election year.
Each state and university employee will receive an additional $1,250 and a bonus of up to $3,750 during the last three months of the fiscal year. The pay rises will begin when state employees receive their next paycheck in mid-April. Katie Byrd, a spokeswoman for Kemp, said state agencies hope to be able to start distributing the awards by the end of April. Employees who have been hired since July 1 will receive a reduced, prorated amount.
Teachers and other school employees are getting less than state employees because lawmakers previously gave them a $3,000 raise. The remaining $2,000 will complete the $5,000 raise Kemp promised teachers when he ran for governor in 2018.
Teachers and other K-12 workers are scheduled to receive their payments by June 30, but some districts are using local money to pay out the bonus faster. The 177,000-student Gwinnett County school district, the largest in Georgia, announced Thursday that it would pay the one-time pay increase at the end of April. That county, like some others, said it would pay the bonus to all of its employees, including those not covered by the state.
For both teachers and other state employees, bonuses are set to be converted into regular salary increases starting July 1 under the 2023 state budget, which lawmakers are expected to finalize by Monday.
Among those receiving pay increases are all the state’s elected officials, including the 56 state senators and 180 members of the House of Representatives. However, they won’t get the $3,750 bonus because senators said paying a bonus to elected and a handful of appointed officials is illegal under state law.