Rewards for good workers

Legislation approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives would expand a State Employee Suggestion Program enacted in 2015 by the same author.

The 2015 law authorizes state agencies to financially reward an employee when that employee makes a suggestion that results in a direct cost savings to the agency of $5,000 or more. The reward is limited to 20 percent of the cost savings. Employees cannot be rewarded for suggestions that involve classification or pay, nor for suggestions that require legislative action. A suggester that applies for patent rights is also ineligible for the reward.

The 2015 law only applied to agencies with more than 10 full-time employees. House Bill 2471, by state Rep. Ken Walker, removes that limitation, based on a promise he made on the House floor in 2015, he said.

“When this legislation was approved by House members, I promised that I would come back and remove the limit on agencies with less than 10 full-time employees,” said Walker, R-Tulsa. “The truth is that there are small agencies that manage a lot of money. If the intent is to spur cost-savings proposals, then it is unproductive to overlook key agencies based on an arbitrary measure of how many full-time employees they have.”

The legislation was approved by a unanimous vote of 90-0 and now proceeds to the Oklahoma Senate for consideration.