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Columbia City Council approves pay raise for Water and Light Association workers

The outside of the City Hall in downtown Columbia

COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council approved a pay raise for unrepresented workers, as well as Water and Light Association workers, as a way to combat pay compression, at its meeting Monday night.

The city council approved funding for the Segal Company Midwest, Inc. to conduct a compensation study in 2021.

Phase I of the study was implemented at the beginning of fiscal year 2024, by adopting pay ranges that lead the market by approximately 6.4%. When this was done, it increased pay compression, which was known before it was implemented.

Pay compression happens when there is little to no difference in pay between employees newly placed in a classification and employees who have been in the classification longer.

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In collaboration with Segal, the following plan was created to address pay compression:

  • Employees placed at a rate of pay equal to 3% (compounded) above the minimum of the pay range for each year in classification as of March 1, 2024, up to a maximum of 75% of pay range
  • Not all employees will receive a pay adjustment because their pay rate is equal to or greater than the rate calculated based on this plan
  • No employee will receive a reduction in pay
  • In accordance with city policy, supervisor pay will be adjusted to ensure all supervisors are making 1% above the highest paid employee they supervise

The pay raise will affect 698 unrepresented employees and 125 employees represented by the Water and Light Association.
The pay adjustments will be effective June 9, and it is a one-time adjustment. The plan will cost the city $1.5 million.

The city's finance department anticipates the cost of the proposed compression pay adjustments can be met in the existing budget by tapping into unspent budgeted resources. The department will ask for additional funds if needed.

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