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Pay Raises–What is Fair?

Dear Source:

When a salary has been frozen for fifteen years, raising it to an acceptable level is bound to cause a public outcry, especially when so many public needs are going unfunded. If the raise is divided by the fifteen years since the last increase, the raise seems fair–for the legislature around one a one-half percent annually. However, there are other factors to be considered, among them whether the salary is comparable to salaries in other comparable jurisdictions and whether the increase is moderate when compared to other needs of the jurisdiction.
What is absolutely unjustifiable in my view is any retroactivity in pay raises. That simply cannot be supported and should not be tolerated.
In the hiring and retention of private citizens, whether for public service or private business, another factor needs to be considered. If one wants qualified employees, one needs to pay a wage which will attract and keep them. The old adage, you get what you pay for is true. All employers who have complained about the quality or lack thereof of their workforce, need to invest in quality. In the long run, it pays off in quality work and loyalty for the employer, prevents employees from having to work two or three jobs to make ends meet, thereby increasing productivity in one job, encourages young people to become qualified for a job which provides a future, benefits the economy, and reduces the burden on government resources.

Dena Langdon
St. Thomas

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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