COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Revisions to Personnel Policies

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Approval of revisions to Personnel Policies P-84, “Annual Leave,” P-80, “Absences,” and P-60, “Salary Administration and Position Classification,” and the addition of P-89, “Workers’ Compensation.”

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. Tucker and Foley; Ms. Kim, Ms. Suyes, Ms. Gerome, and Ms. Carter

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

 

AGENDA DATE:

September 3, 2008

 

ACTION:                 INFORMATION: 

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:   X          INFORMATION: 

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

BACKGROUND:

Human Resources has been working with the County Attorney’s Office to review and revise personnel policies as part of the comprehensive revision of the County’s Personnel Policy Manual.  Under Local Government Policy P-08 and School Board Policy GAD-AP, a joint staff committee must review proposed personnel policies that apply both to Local Government and Schools and make recommendations to the County Executive and Superintendent.

 

Last spring, the County Executive and Superintendent appointed employees from Local Government and Schools to the Commonality Personnel Policy Committee.  At its meeting on June 25, 2008, the Committee reviewed the proposed areas of change in policies P-84, P-60 and P-89 and recommended that they be approved.  Human Resources also presented the proposed changes to the Leadership Council and the Leadership Team for their information and feedback.

 

Revised policies P-84 and P-60 and new policy P-89 affect annual leave, salary administration and workers’ compensation benefits, respectively.  School Board policies GCBA (Salary Administration and Position Classification) and GCC (Leave – covering both Annual Leave and Workers’ Compensation) were presented to the School Board for a first reading on August 14, 2008.  The School Board directed staff to consider implications of the Workers’ Compensation policy changes on non-benefits eligible employees, but asked that the Workers’ Compensation policy, without changes, be presented for consideration at its next business meeting.  Both policies will return to the School Board for a second reading and adoption on September 11, 2008.  This fall, Human Resources will present information regarding non-benefits eligible employees to the Commonality Personnel Policy Committee for its review and will brief both boards on the relevant data and recommendations.

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goals 1:  Enhance the Quality of Life for all Citizens 

 

DISCUSSION:

Highlights of changes to the policies are as follows.

 

Annual Leave (P-84):

     1.   Allow discretion for new employees to accrue annual leave at higher rates, with County Executive and HR approval.
     2.   Change the schedule for monitoring maximum accruals (320 hours) from a monthly to annual basis (on the employee’s birth month) in order to help employees
           better manage their excess annual leave.
     3.   Allow annual leave over the maximum to convert in the following manner, rather than being lost without any employee compensation:

50% Employee’s own sick leave balance

50% County sick bank

 

Salary Administration and Position Classification (P-60):

      1.   Allow for more flexibility in determining pay for promotions, demotions, voluntary movement to a lower pay grade and reclassifications.
      2.   Replace specific percentage amounts with language that allows for consideration of relevant experience and internal equity.

Workers’ Compensation  (Establish new policy P-89):

 

Background:

Under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act (the “Act”), employees who miss work due to an eligible, work-related injury or illness must be paid 66 2/3% of their average weekly wages after their seventh day of absence.  Their 66 2/3% benefits are not taxable.  Although employers are not required to supplement these benefits, the County currently pays employees 1/3 of their daily wages, with no charge to their personal leave balances, for up to 1 year from the date of their eligible injury.  Consequently, employees on workers’ compensation leave take home more than 100% of their regular salary because their 66 2/3% benefits are not taxed.  In most cases the untaxed 66 2/3% benefit, alone, is comparable to the employee’s regular net earnings.

 

In a benchmarking study conducted last spring, Human Resources surveyed the workers’ compensation policies of eleven comparable jurisdictions in Virginia.  Out of the eleven localities, seven do not supplement the 66 2/3% wages (Chesterfield County, Henrico County Schools, Stafford County, City of Suffolk, York County, Fauquier County and City of Charlottesville); two supplement to provide 100% of the employees’ wages (Henrico County and City of Richmond); and two currently supplement to provide 100% of the wages, but are in the process of revising their policies to discontinue supplementation (Hanover County and Prince William County).  As this study reflects, the County’s current policy of supplementing over 100% of employees’ regular wages is in the minority.

 

The current policy also provides no financial incentive for injured employees to return to work or participate fully in the County’s transitional work program, given that they earn more while not working than while working.  Adopting the new policy would also provide better stewardship of County revenues.

 

Proposed Changes:

Based on the above, staff recommends the following changes:

 

1.   Discontinue supplementing workers’ compensation benefits through direct payment of 33 1/3% of employees’ daily wages.

2.   Allow employees to supplement their 66 2/3% workers’ compensation benefits with accrued sick, annual and compensatory time leave for up to 1/3 of the daily hours they are normally scheduled to work.  The county will continue to make all contributions toward the employee’s retirement benefits, as well as their health, dental and life insurance.

 

Apart from policy changes, staff will also be making some procedural changes required by the Act and the County’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier, the Virginia Municipal League (VML).  The County currently pays employees their 66 2/3% benefits on a monthly basis.  Going forward, VML will issue the employees’ workers’ compensation payments and mail them directly to the employees every two weeks.

 

The County will also continue to focus on bringing employees back to work through its transitional work program.  This newly implemented program helps injured employees with medical restrictions to return to work by matching them with departmental activities they can perform.  The ultimate goal is to return the restricted duty employee back to full duty.  If the employee’s department cannot accommodate the restrictions, Human Resources searches for suitable work in other County departments.

 

Absences (P-80):

Delete Section F regarding Workers’ Compensation.

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

There are minimal budget implications for these policy changes. The changes to the workers’ compensation policy will create some cost savings for the minimal number of workers’ compensation claims the County receives on an annual basis.  Allowing annual leave to convert to personal sick leave and sick leave bank hours may result in the County paying for a greater number of sick leave hours, but should not create any direct costs. 

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Staff recommends that the Board adopt the attached Resolutions, which will approve the proposed changes to Personnel Policies P-84, P-80 and P-60, and the addition of Personnel Policy P-89.

 

ATTACHMENTS

A – Resolution approving Personnel Policy P-84, Annual Leave

B – Resolution approving Personnel Policy P-60, Salary Administration

C – Resolution approving Personnel Policy P-89, Workers’ Compensation

      and Personnel Policy P-80, Absences

Return to consent agenda

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