Survey: Just 10% of State House staffers feel fairly paid

Boston Statehouse

Massachusetts State House

BOSTON (SHNS) – Just over 10 percent of legislative staff surveyed by their peers feel they are fairly paid for the amount of work and responsibility that they take on in their jobs, citing long and irregular hours in offices that sometimes have only one staffer juggling policy, constituent services, communications, and administrative tasks.

And 16.4 percent of staffers reported being food insecure during their employment at the State House. The results of the survey sent out in early May were released Monday as legislative aides and senior staff in many offices around the State House prepare to emerge from more than a year of remote office work.

The poll was organized by Beacon B.L.O.C, a coalition of Black State House staffers and allies, with the support of Sen. Diana DiZoglio, of Methuen. The group was organized last summer around the idea of promoting diversity at the State House.

More than 210 staffers, or about a quarter of the legislative staff at the State House, responded to the recent survey, with 88.6 percent reporting that they live with family or rely on outside income from a second job or a spouse to be able to work in the Legislature.

The group reported that legislative aides earn about $43,000 a year, while more senior staff in larger offices can earn more. Only half said they were able to support themselves and their dependents on their State House salary, and over 68 percent reported feeling a level of anxiety about their finances rated six or higher on a scale of one to 10.

“We can all agree that knowledge is power. The more informed we are in the Legislature about the issues facing our staff, from compensation and financial security to overall dynamics at the State House pertaining to opportunities for growth and development, the more capable we will be able to make decisions that inspire hope and confidence among all staffers on Beacon Hill,” DiZoglio said in a statement.

Beacon B.L.O.C., which stands for Building Leaders of Color, said it is committed to working with leadership to remove barriers, including financial impediments, to careers in public service in the Legislature.

Neither House Speaker Ron Mariano nor Senate President Karen Spilka’s office had an immediate comment on the survey, which also found that 82 percent felt their bosses “genuinely cared” about their well-being.

About half of respondents said their boss had advocated for a pay raise on their behalf during their time working at the State House, and only 17.8 percent said they had regular salary or performance reviews.

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