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New Bill Works to Solve Corrections Staffing Crisis by Providing Wages Based on Skill and Experience
February 14, 2019 (Lincoln, NE) — Today, Senator Kate Bolz introduced legislation to improve retention for frontline employees at the Nebraska Department of Corrections. The bill, LB109, will be heard today in the Government Committee and creates new pay structures that rewards experience and skills gained while working for the Department.
Currently, employees are not guaranteed wages that reflect experience on the job.
“It’s clear that to solve our prison staffing crisis and cut long-term training costs to the state, we must do more to keep the employees we’ve already invested in” said Senator Kate Bolz.
LB109 requires that beginning in 2021/2022 must create three tiers of experience with increasing pay structures for corrections corporals, sergeants and unit caseworkers, respectively.
The Department of Corrections has suffered from staffing vacancies and high turnover for much of the decade. A 2016 workplace culture study commissioned by the Department showed experience was of high value to operations. The same report mentioned the necessity of employee retention in maintaining secure facilities, “Keeping quality, trained staff is important for maintaining safe and secure prisons in Nebraska. Not only are staff responsible for keeping offenders and the public safe, they play a vital role in the rehabilitative process for offenders, assisting with their successful reentry into our communities upon release.”
“By introducing new staffing wage tiers, we can recognize the most experienced and highly trained Department of Corrections employees and incentivize them to stay with the Department throughout their careers,” said Senator Bolz.
Senator Kate Bolz of Lincoln represents District #29 in the Nebraska Legislature