Virus Outbreak Maryland

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan leaves following a news conference in Annapolis, Md., Monday, Nov. 16, 2020.

(The Center Square) – State employees in Maryland will be seeing a significant pay raise due to new agreements between unions and the state.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced the “historic agreements” Monday in a news release. The agreements will give significant wage increases for law enforcement officers, firefighters, nurses, and front-line healthcare workers. In addition, the governor said the agreements feature an enhanced focus on mental health resources that will be made available to state employees under the agreements.

While the agreements are not finalized, the Hogan administration said it offered the salary increases to two remaining unions and looks forward to their finalization.

“These historic agreements are well-deserved for our hard working state employees and they deliver on one of our top priorities – to re-fund the police and support our first responders,” Hogan said in the release. “Many of the employees of these unions are law enforcement officers and nurses – front line heroes who worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are proud to take care of them with these agreements.”

According to the release, the state have reached agreements with the Fraternal Order of Police, State Law Enforcement Officers Labor Alliance, BWI Airport firefighters Local 142, and the American Federation of Teachers Healthcare has reach agreements on the contracts.

A 7% cost of living increase will go into effect July 1, 2022, for members of the FOP, SLEOLA, and BWI Firefighters, and an additional 5% cost of living increase will go into effect July 1, 2023. A final 5% cost of living increase will go into effect the following year, according to the release.

Members of the unions will also be eligible for salary increments of 3% each year of the agreement, and will receive 10 days of COVID-19 leave for vaccinated employees who are experiencing symptoms of the virus, according to the release. Plus, the state will purchase more than 60 vehicles for Maryland Transportation Authority officers.

Healthcare employees, according to the release, will receive salary increments of 2% and a $1,000 bonus in January 2022, and a 3% cost of living increase on July 1, 2022. An additional salary increment will got into effect in 2023, along with 10 days of COVID-19 leave, a 2% cost of living increase on July 1, 2023, in additional to added leave flexibility for employee’s 36-hour workweek. In addition, registered nurses will see a 6% pay increase on July 1, 2022.

According to the release, employees who are not represented by the union are scheduled to receive a salary increase valued at 2% and a $1,000 bonus in January 2022, along with a 3% cost of living increase on July 1, 2022, and an additional cost of living increase in 2023, in addition to 10 days of COVID-19 leave.

The governor also announced MyMDCARES will be made available to state employees and dependents. The initiative will be available at no cost, will be confidential, and will be available when needed to help employees with personal or professional issues.

“We need to be doing everything we can to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues in our lives, and the state is committed to leading by example by providing enhanced resources for our employees that are available 24/7,” Hogan said in the release. “We encourage state employees and their families to take advantage of these resources.”

Associate Editor

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.