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Cost of Living Adjustment for State Employees - Columbus State University

Human Resources

Cost of Living Adjustment for State Employees

Updated: May 11, 2022

Recent state budget action by Gov. Brian Kemp and the state's General Assembly includes a $5,000 cost of living adjustment (COLA) for state employees, which became effective April 1, 2022. For FY22, a salary adjustment will be awarded prior to June 30, the end of this fiscal year, in the following manner:

  • In April, eligible employees received a one-time pay supplement of up to $3,750 based on the number of pay periods an individual was employed by the state between July 1, 2021, and April 1, 2022, and FTE.
  • The remaining balance, up to $1,250, will be included on the normal payment schedule to finish out the fiscal year.
  • The ongoing increase for FY23 has already been applied to the employee's annualized salary and will continue to be appropriately distributed across the pay calendar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Per state legislation, Columbus State employees (like other USG and state employees) who are regular, full-time, and benefits-eligible with a standard work week of 30 hours or more qualify for these cost of living adjustments. This includes employees paid through non-state revenues like grants or through auxiliary services.

Eligibility also includes employees classified as foreign nationals. CSU will adhere to all immigration reporting rules and requirements for compensation. For some foreign nationals, compensation cannot be changed without notice.

Employees not receiving benefits, including student employees, temporary workers and those working less than 30 hours per week, are not eligible for the increase.

The COLAs represent a permanent wage increase in each eligible employee's base pay. Beginning with FY23 payroll cycles in July 2022, the COLAs will be paid out as part of each employee's regular compensation schedule. Between April 2022 and June 2022, the FY22 COLA will be paid out on an expedited schedule. This will include a one-time salary supplement payment in April 2022 and subsequent payouts through each employee's regular compensation schedule.

The $5,000 COLA is based on an employee's employment tenure and FTE (full-time equivalency) status. Employees not receiving benefits, including student employees, temporary workers and those working less than 30 hours per week, are not eligible for the increase.

Whether a CSU employee receives the full $5,000 FY22 COLA or a portion of it depends on several factors:

  • First, the payout depends on an employee's employment tenure. Individuals continuously employed by the State of Georgia since July 1, 2021, qualify for the full $5,000 COLA. This may include service at Columbus State, another USG institution, and/or another eligible state agency. The COLA will be prorated for those employed at Columbus State (and any of these other settings) for a portion of the 12-month period beginning July 1, 2021. For example, an employee with six months of service (whose start date was Jan. 1, 2022) qualifies for 50% of the COLA, of $2,500
  • Second, the payout depends on an employee's typical weekly work schedule. Individuals working at least a 40-hour work week will receive 100% of the COLA to which they are eligible, based on their employment tenure. The COLA for which they are eligible based on employment tenure will be prorated for employees whose regular work week is between 30 and 39 hours. For example, an employee who works a 32-hour work week will receive 80% of the COLA for which they are eligible.

Between April 2022 and June 2022, COLAs will be distributed in two ways: as an initial, one-time supplemental payment and through evenly divided payroll distributions.

Updated 4/18: On your next regularly scheduled April pay date, eligible employees will receive a one-time supplemental payment up to $3,750 as a separate payroll distribution. Full-year, 40-hour employees will receive 100% of this amount. Other employees will receive a prorated amount based on the employment tenure and weekly workload criteria noted previously.

Evenly divided payroll distributions of the remaining COLA amount will begin during the April payroll cycle and continue through June, depending on each employee's classification. the remaining COLA balance will total up to $1,250 (based on employment tenure and weekly workload criteria noted previously).

  • Non-exempt (hourly) employees: the one-time supplemental payment and initial COLA increase for which non-exempt employees qualify will be paid in April, beginning with their April 22 paycheck. The remaining COLA increase for which non-exempt employees qualify will be spread equally over their May and June biweekly paychecks.
  • Exempt (salaried) employees: the one-time supplemental payment and initial COLA increase for which exempt employees qualify will be paid in April, beginning with their April 29 paycheck. The remaining COLA increase for which non-exempt employees qualify will be spread equally over their May and June monthly paychecks.
  • Faculty (10-month) employees: the one-time supplemental payment and the initial COLA increase for which 10-month faculty qualify will be paid in April, beginning with their April 29 paycheck. The remaining COLA increase for which faculty (10-month) employees qualify will be paid in their May monthly paycheck.

The proration schedules for non-exempt, exempt and faculty employees are listed below for reference:

Non-Exempt (Hourly) Employees Paid Biweekly

Non-Exempt (Hourly) Employees Paid Biweekly
Pay Period Start Pay Period End Pay Date Prorated Amount
6/27/2021 7/10/2021 7/16/2021 $3,750.00
7/11/2021 7/24/2021 7/30/2021 $3,562.50
7/25/2021 8/7/2021 8/13/2021 $3,375.00
8/8/2021 8/21/2021 8/27/2021 $3,187.50
8/22/2021 9/4/2021 9/10/2021 $3,000.00
9/5/2021 9/18/2021 9/24/2021 $2,812.50
9/19/2021 10/2/2021 10/8/2021 $2,625.00
10/3/2021 10/16/2021 10/22/2021 $2,437.50
10/17/2021 10/30/2021 11/5/2021 $2,250.00
10/31/2021 11/13/2021 11/19/2021 $2,062.50
11/14/2021 11/27/2021 12/3/2021 $1,875.00
11/28/2021 12/11/2021 12/17/2021 $1,687.50
12/12/2021 12/25/2021 12/31/2021 $1,500.00
12/26/2021 1/8/2022 1/14/2022 $1,312.50
1/9/2022 1/22/2022 1/28/2022 $1,125.00
1/23/2022 2/5/2022 2/11/2022 $937.50
2/6/2022 2/19/2022 2/25/2022 $750.00
2/20/2022 3/5/2022 3/11/2022 $562.50
3/6/2022 3/19/2022 3/25/2022 $375.00
3/20/2022 4/2/2022 4/8/2022 $187.50
4/3/2022 4/16/2022 4/22/2022 $192.31
4/17/2022 4/30/2022 5/6/2022 $192.31
5/1/2022 5/14/2022 5/20/2022 $192.31
5/15/2022 5/28/2022 6/3/2022 $192.31
5/29/2022 6/11/2022 6/17/2022 $192.31
6/12/2022 6/25/2022 7/1/2022 $192.31
6/26/2022 7/9/2022 7/15/2022 $192.31

Exempt (Salaried) and Faculty Employees Paid Monthly

Exempt (Salaried) and Faculty Employees Paid Monthly
Pay Period Start Pay Period End Pay Date 12-Month Proration Schedule 9-/10-Month Proration Schedule
7/1/2021 7/31/2021 7/31/2021 $3,750.00 $3,750.00
8/1/2021 8/30/2021 8/30/2021 $3,333.33 $3,750.00
9/1/2021 9/30/2021 9/30/2021 $2,916.67 $2,916.67
10/1/2021 10/31/2021 10/31/2021 $2,500.00 $2,500.00
11/1/2021 11/30/2021 11/30/2021 $2,083.33 $2,083.33
12/1/2021 12/31/2021 12/31/2021 $1,666.67 $1,666.67
1/1/2022 1/31/2022 1/31/2022 $1,250.00 $1,250.00
2/1/2022 2/28/2022 2/28/2022 $833.33 $833.33
3/1/2022 3/31/2022 3/31/2022 $416.67 $416.67
4/1/2022 4/29/2022 4/29/2022 $416.67 $500.00
5/1/2022 5/31/2022 5/31/2022 $416.67 $750.00
6/1/2022 6/30/2022 6/30/2022 $416.67 -

Each element of the FY22 COLA distribution will be subject to different payroll withholding guidelines, as set by the federal tax code and the USG. How much is withheld from the COLA for which each employee is eligible is ultimately subject to each employee's personal withholding criteria.

Updated 4/18: The one-time supplemental payment will be processed and paid as a separate payment and will be taxed at supplemental rates established by federal and state taxing agencies. These rates include 22% federal withholding, 6.2% OASDI withholding (Social Security), 1.45% Medicare withholding, and state withholding. State rates will vary by state. Generally, the separate check and flat tax withholding rate should be easier for employees to understand. However, withholding at a flat rate percentage instead of the employee's typical withholding percentage could have personal tax implications. As a result, the total (net) amount you receive will be less than the initial COLA (gross) for which you qualify.

The remaining portion of the COLA included in biweekly or monthly paychecks will be subject to the employee's standard withholding request, including TRS.

No, the supplement payment will NOT be included in an employee's regular rate of pay calculation for overtime purposes.

Yes, the supplement payment is subject to applicable garnishment withholding requirements.

Yes, the supplement payment is considered taxable income and will be included in the appropriate taxable wage boxes on an employee's W-2. However, there is no special reporting requirement for the supplement payment, so it will NOT be a separate line item on the W-2.

For employees leaving the state's employment before the end of FY22 (June 30), the one-time and payroll COLA distributions may be prorated. Contact the Office of Human Resources to discuss your situation so you know what to expect.

Yes, cost of living adjustments that are approved through the legislative budget process and USG policy may exceed the established range and should be documented by the institution. The Office of Human Resources will review all salary grades following the COLA implementation for such situations.

Contact the Office of Human Resources to review your concern.

The governor and State Legislature have provided state appropriations to fund the one-time pay supplement for Columbus State employees. The one-time supplemental payment will be budgeted centrally using state appropriations and will not impact department budgets or actuals, including fringe.

All regular, benefits-eligible faculty and non-academic staff of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents who are actively employed on April 1, 2022, will be eligible to receive a $5,000 increase to base pay as a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA). The increase will be prorated based on full-time equivalency (FTE).

All regular, benefits-eligible faculty and non-academic staff of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents who are actively employed on April 1, 2022, will be eligible to receive a $5,000 increase to base pay as a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA). The increase will be prorated based on full-time equivalency (FTE).

Managers can assist with the COLA implementation by processing all known separations immediately, refraining from requesting employment actions (such as reclassifications, promotions, and position reviews) until May 1, 2022. Your help with these items will greatly assist us in implementing the COLA.

Please email hr@columbusstate.edu with any lingering questions. Our Human Resources team will address those questions as they arise as an email reply or through future Office of Human Resource Q&A sessions.
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