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Pay-progression plan keeps state lawyers from getting 1 percent bump

State lawyers affected by a proposed attorney pay-progression plan won’t receive the 1 percent raise approved by committee Wednesday for most state and University of Wisconsin workers.

In explaining the exclusion, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Burlington, pointed to the automatic pay increases assistant district attorneys, attorneys general, defense attorneys and deputy district attorneys would receive in the pay-progression plan included in the state’s proposed 2013-15 budget, which Gov. Scott Walker plans to sign this weekend. That plan would give a $4,120 raise to lawyers who fall into those categories and have worked for the state for at least a year.

For lawyers making the state’s entry-level salary of $49,429, that increase will amount to a pay raise of 8 percent.

The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations, on which Vos sits, voted unanimously Wednesday to give most state employees a 1 percent raise in 2014 and 2015. Beyond that, the plan calls for giving as much as an additional 25 cents per hour to employees who make less than $15 an hour. Also, in an attempt to make sure employees working in certain types of jobs are compensated at a comparable rate to their counterparts in other states, the proposal would provide raises at separate percentages to employees falling into 220 specified job classifications, such as IT, nursing and forensics.

The plan, which will take effect Sunday, pertains to about 41,000 permanent and temporary state workers and about 24,000 UW workers.

Non-union state employees last received a general raise in 2008. Lawyers covered under the pay-progression plan and other formerly union-covered workers were among a group that got one in 2009. Kit Beyer, communications director for Vos, said lawmakers will have to decide at a later date if subsequent budgets should return to the practice of giving lawyers pay increases similar to those being received by other state employees.

Vos said Wednesday that just because those included in the pay-progression plan won’t get the additional pay raise this budget, that doesn’t meant the exclusion will continue into future budgets.

The Associated Press also contributed to this report.

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