CAT Board approves $1,000 recruitment/retention bonus

The Chatham Area Transit Board on Tuesday approved a $1,000 bonus for new and existing employees as part of a retention and recruitment program designed to make CAT more competitive in today’s labor market.

New employees will receive the bonus in four payments of $250 at the completion of 60-day, 90-day, 180-day and 365-day intervals. Existing employees will be paid the $250 amount on a quarterly basis.

The plan is being implemented in response to the staffing shortage CAT has been experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and an aging and retiring workforce. The hope is that the bonus will help attract new workers, retain existing employees and alleviate some of the service disruptions the vacancies have caused.

CAT is seeking to recruit fixed-route bus operators, CAT Mobility paratransit operators, Savannah Belles Ferry captains and maintenance workers.

“It is our intent that these bonuses will help restore our workforce to a level needed to ensure we can provide the dependable service our customers deserve,” said interim CEO Valerie Ragland. “Filling the vacancies will also help provide relief to those employees who have been stepping up and working overtime to keep CAT running during these challenging times.”

Half of the bonus payments for new and existing employees is expected to cost CAT $177,000 this fiscal year, which runs through June. The other half of the incentive would be paid for during the 2023 fiscal year. Salary savings derived from vacant positions is being used to cover the cost of the program.

The bonus payment is generally available to active full-time, part-time, salaried and hourly employees, including CDL and non-CDL, water ferry, maintenance, administrative, and executive employees.

The bonus is currently being offered on a temporary basis, but could possibly be extended based on the agency’s needs and funding availability.

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