Cooper signs budget with raises, bonuses into law

Nov 19, 2021

We have a budget. The legislature announced its budget compromise on Monday. By Thursday, the budget had been passed through the House and Senate and signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper.

SEANC Executive Director Ardis Watkins explained in this letter to members that the budget is a big win for SEANC. Thanks to the hard work of staff and members, we were able to secure:

  • A much-needed 5% pay increase (over two years) and bonuses for all state employees
  • A 5% supplement (2% in year 1, 3% in year 2) for retirees that is much larger than any of the three original proposals
  • an extension of the $15 minimum wage to non-certified school personnel and community college employees
  • repayment of funds used for COVID to the State Health Plan.
  • Read more about our victories here

The budget locks in a 2.5% raise for next year for employees, but we will lobby for improvements to that in the short session. Likewise, it looks as though the retirement system will support a true cost-of-living adjustment next year according to projections. We will lobby for that COLA in addition to the 3% supplement.

We were also able to successfully lobby for huge changes for correctional employees. The budget creates a pay plan for correctional officers and probation and parole officers – a move we have pushed for years – as well as the creation of a new cabinet-level agency for corrections, and other changes.

The raises are retroactive to July 1, 2021, and employees will be paid for the extra salary missed because of the delay in the budget.

We continue to work to find out when these raises and bonuses will be paid, and are doing everything we can to insist on the payment no later than Jan. 1, given the strain of the long period between checks in January.

Hear more about the budget in this week’s Legislative Update.