Georgia leaders announce $1,000 bonuses for state employees

In a joint news conference Wednesday, Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston revealed they have agreed to expand a proposal for bonuses for Georgia educators to include most state employees.

"When Gov. Kemp announced in his State of the State Address that he wanted to give a $1,000 bonus to our teachers, my colleagues and I were proud to support that proposal," said Speaker Ralston.  "But then we wanted to see if we could do more."

What's included in the budget?

Included in this year's amended budget is $59.6 million to provide one-time payments to state employees who make less than $80,000 per year.

"Throughout the pandemic we've watched these employees at state agencies, as the Speaker mentioned, at the Department of Public Health, the Department of Public Safety, GEMA, DFCS and so many others work grueling hours to provide critical services to our citizens all across our great state," said Lt. Gov. Duncan.

How do the bonuses work?

The bonuses will not include the Board of Regents, nor some other state authorities, but will go to an estimated 57,000 state employees.

"Our state employees have worked incredibly hard despite a global pandemic.  They have been going above and beyond the call of duty to deliver essential services to our most vulnerable, keeping our businesses open and delivering financial assistance to those who quite honestly many days were losing hope," said Gov. Kemp.  "Like so many hardworking Georgians, they juggled jobs and school and the new normal for their kids and their families like we all have and to those of [you] here today we just simply cannot thank you enough."

Lawmakers in the House and Senate will have to amend the FY2021 budget to include the bonus money before it can go to the governor's desk for his signature.  They are expected to give the amended budget final approval on Thursday.

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