If the cashier at the liquor store seems a little happier these days — there’s good reason.
Starting July 1, all retail workers and warehouse employees for the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control got a $2 per hour raise.
Starting pay for a full-time store employee is now $13.32 per hour — up from $11.32.
The beginning salary for a full-time warehouse employee is $13.81 per hour — up from 11.81.
And a new part-time store employees will make $11.94 per hour — up from $9.94.
“We’re hopeful that this will help us with employee recruitment,” said Michelle Schmitt, DABC spokeswoman, “and let people know that state liquor stores are a desirable place to work — that they’re good jobs.”
Schmitt said the pay increase includes the 3% cost-of-living raise given to all state employees for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which started on Thursday.
The DABC supplemented that with an additional $1.9 million from its on-going budget — a move that was approved by the Legislature — to create the $2 per hour pay hike for its hourly employees.
Administrative staff, Schmitt said, did not get the additional boost.
More pay raises could be coming next year, she said. The Department of Human Resource Management is currently conducting a salary survey of the job market and future pay increases for some employees will be based on the outcome of that analysis.
For many years, the DABC has been criticized for it’s stunningly poor pay, but in today’s tight job market, the agency has found it nearly impossible to keep existing employees or land new ones.
Other employers hiring for similar roles in retail, warehousing and distribution pay much higher wages and have less-stringent hiring practices. Under state law, DABC employees must be 21 or older and pass a background check.
An agency review conducted for Gov. Spencer Cox earlier this year, showed turnover rates at the DABC exceeded 140% for the agency’s part-time workforce, and 109% for all employees.
While other state agencies have similar problems retaining employees, the DABC turnover rate is the worst in the state.