State Employee Compensation

ACE meets one or more times per year with the Division of  Personnel Management on state employee compensation issues and benefits, and testifies before the Wisconsin Legislatures’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCOER) on the compensation plan.

Current Compensation Plan

2019-2021 Compensation Plan

Shrinking Purchasing Power of Employee Wages

The purchasing power of state employee salaries and wages has shrunk since 2009. State employee salaries and wages experienced a 20.7% net loss of purchasing power from mid-2009 through 2017. 

The reduction in purchasing power is the combined result of 14.3% inflation in addition to the 5.8% and 2.6% effective reductions in compensation that resulted from the 5.8% and 2.6% increases in employee contributions toward retirement and health insurance required by 2011 Act 10.

The 2% General Wage Adjustment in the 2013-2015 biennium and 4% increase the 2019-2021 biennium reflect only a small recovery of the purchasing power lost.

Compensation history since 2009

General Wage Adjustments

2019-2021 biennium.  GWAs were adopted with a 2 percent increase on January 5, 2020 and 2 percent on January 3, 2021)

2017-2019 biennium.  GWAs were adopted with a 2 percent increase on June, 2018 and 2 percent on January 6, 2019) Some market and parity adjustments were funded in 2017-2019.  Two year progression for Congressional Officers and Sergeants, Psychiatric Care Physicians and Youth Counselors, a progression for Conservation Warden and Capitol Police relative to labor market and an add on for CNAs as a pilot project.

2015-2017 biennium. There was no GWA in the 2015-2017 biennium.

2013-2015 biennium. GWAs were adopted with 1 percent June 30, 2013 (the beginning of the biennium), and 1 percent on June 29, 2014 (the beginning of the first year of the biennium).Also effective June 30, 2013, any employee whose base pay rate was less than $15.00 per hour after implementation of the 1.0% GWA effective on that date, received an additional GWA increase of $0.25 per hour, except that the increase did not result in a base pay rate exceeding $15.00 per hour.

2011-2013 biennium.  There were no GWA increases in the 2011-2013 biennium.

Employee Contributions for Retirement and Health Insurance

2011 Wisconsin Act 10 effectively reduced state employee compensation by increasing employee contributions for retirement and health insurance premiums:

  • Retirement Contribution.  Act 10 required employees to pay 50% of their retirement contributions beginning in mid-2011, effectively decreasing state and university employees’ total compensation by 5.8%.
  • Health Insurance Contribution.  Act 10 increased employee health insurance contributionsfrom approximately 6% to 12.6%.  This equated to an increased annual cost of approximately $1,000 for family coverage. This equaled approximately 2.6% reduction in total compensation for an employee with a wage of $18 per hour.

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