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TOPEKA (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly announced on Tuesday a series of new pay incentives to combat staffing shortages in several state facilities.

These new efforts to increase pay will primarily affect 24/7 state facilities such as the Kansas Department of Corrections, Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, state hospitals and the Kansas Commission of Veterans Affairs Office.

“My administration and the Kansas Department of Corrections have worked over the past three years to address staffing shortages and overcrowding that have impacted corrections facilities for years,” Gov. Kelly said.

Kelly attributed the difficulties in getting pay increases for corrections officers in Kansas to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused similar issues for other states that have been trying to issue pay raises.

“This new pay plan is a necessary step to address the ongoing challenges brought on by the pandemic,’ she said. “Support our efforts to prioritize public health and safety, and care for our most vulnerable populations.”

The new Kansas Plan will reportedly provide both long-term and temporary pay increases, including a permanent base pay increase and temporary pay differentials.

KDOC Secretary Jeff Zmuda said his employees are committed to their service to promote safer communities in Kansas and that this duty has only been highlighted due to the recent staff shortages.

“The governor’s pay plan recognizes the incredible contributions of our employees to public safety and provides a great incentive to retain their experience and commitment within the organization,” Zmuda said. “While providing an opportunity for relief as more job seekers join them in our workforce.”

Pay increases will be phased in with the base-pay increases taking effect during the next pay period, starting Nov. 28. An executive directive will be issued by Kelly authorizing the initial pay increases by using existing agency funds.

The program will focus on juvenile corrections officers, corrections officers, nurses and others who provide direct care.

“The staff in our 24/7 facilities are the frontline workers for some of the most necessary and frankly thankless work that we do for Kansans,” Kelly said. “These pay increases are well deserved – and my administration will continue working to support our state employees and their families.”