IRS Raises Standard Mileage Reimbursement Rates for 2019
For cities that use the IRS rate to reimburse for mileage, be aware that on January 1, 2019, the IRS raised the standard mileage reimbursement rate to 58 cents per mile. For additional information see the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-issues-standard-mileage-rates-for-2019.
For sample policies or questions contact Andrea Shindlebower Main or Courtney Risk Straw in KLC’s Municipal Law and Training Department.
Federal Transit Administration Raises Random Drug Testing Rates to 50% for 2019
The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced their random drug and alcohol testing rates for 2019. Effective January 1, 2019, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the United States Coast Guard raised the random drug testing rates from 25% to 50%. If your city has FTA employees, which includes any public transit system employees, be certain the city drug testing policy reflects this change. The random alcohol testing rate remains unchanged for these employees at 10%. All other federally regulated employee rates also remain unchanged.
Below are the 2019 testing rates for federally regulated employees commonly found in cities:
2019 Random Drug Testing Rate
2019 Random Alcohol Testing Rate
Federal Motor Carrier Administration
Federal Transit Administration
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
For drug and alcohol testing questions or for sample policies or training, contact Andrea Shindlebower Main or Courtney Risk Straw in KLC’s Municipal Law and Training Department.
First Steps to Success: New Mayor and Commissioner Orientation
Many cities across the state are preparing for newly elected officials to begin serving on January 1st. For cities with the mayor-council form of government, a new mayor means a new head of the executive branch and, thus, a new head of personnel. Additionally, in the mayor-commission form of government, a new mayor or commissioner also impacts personnel. City clerks can ease this transition and ensure everyone gets off on the right foot with some simple preparation. A few important steps include:
- Have all newly elected officials take the oath of office before January 1st.
- Note, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and Louisville Metro Government elected officials are required to complete the oath by the first Monday in January.
- Get mayors and commissioners, who will handle or have access to public funds bonded before January 1st. (KRS 62.050 and KRS 65.067)
- Explain the city form of government and their role (specific job duties) within the form of government. The KLC City Officials Legal Handbook (Chapter 4) would be very helpful!
- The 2019 KLC City Officials Legal Handbook will be available in January!
- Provide a city organizational chart with employee names, job titles, and other information, such as physical location, reporting relationships, and job responsibilities.
- Provide a calendar that includes upcoming important dates and events. This could include dates for setting tax rates, insurance premium rates, budget deadlines, audits, and the regular monthly meetings schedule.
- Provide information on city boards and commissions including their duties and how appointments are made. Also advise if there are any upcoming appointments that will need to be made.
- Provide information on the mayor’s requirements to distribute open meetings and open records act information: https://ag.ky.gov/orom/Pages/alert.aspx
- Plan a time for the new mayors or commissioners to meet city employees, whether it is a simple meet and greet at city hall or a group lunch.
- Give them information about KLC, including, the website (www.klc.org) and who to call when they have questions.
- Have them register and attend the KLC City Officials Academy in January in Lexington and Owensboro locations. Information and registration information can be found here.
For a more comprehensive checklist, contact KLC Personnel Services Manager
, Andrea Shindlebower Main or Personnel Services Attorney Courtney Risk Straw.
Weekly HR News - Straight time or overtime?
Daylight Savings Time Ends on Sunday, November 4, 2018
Clocks turn back Sunday, November 4 and employees on duty from 2 a.m. – 3 a.m. that day will have worked an hour longer than scheduled unless other arrangements are made (such as leave an hour early or come in an hour later). Nonexempt (hourly) employees must be paid for the extra hour of work under the Fair Labor Standards Act. They are also entitled to overtime pay for all hours in excess of 40 worked during the week, including the extra hour worked during the conversion back to standard time.
For sample policies, training or more information on this or any other personnel related matters contact Andrea Shindlebower Main or Courtney Risk Straw.
Are You Ready for Election Day?
Everyone is gearing up for Election Day on November 6th, and while you’re preparing for the return of the polls, be sure to communicate your city’s voting leave policy with employees to ensure they understand their rights as well as requirements.
Kentucky provides one of the most generous leave laws for voting in this country. KRS 118.035 states “any person entitled to a vote at any election in this state shall, if he has made application for leave prior to the day he appears before the county clerk to request an application for or to execute an absentee ballot, be entitled to absent himself from any services or employment in which he is then engaged or employed for a reasonable time, but not less than four hours on the day he appears before the clerk to request an application for or to execute an absentee ballot, during normal business hours of the office of the clerk or to cast his ballot on the day of the election between the time of opening and closing the polls. The employer may specify the hours during which an employee may absent himself.”
Follow these steps to ensure that Election Day goes smoothly in your workplace:
- Read your voting leave policy, as well as the law, and make sure it is applied equally to all employees.
- Make sure supervisors are aware of how much notice an employee is supposed to give and how much time the employee can take to vote.
- If the time to vote is unpaid make sure that is clear to any employees that request it.
- Do not retaliate against an employee who follows the policy; however, make it clear that failure to vote (which can and should be verified) during their voting leave can result in disciplinary action.
For more information on personnel policies or any other personnel-related matters, contact Andrea Shindlebower Main or Courtney Risk Straw in KLC’s Municipal Law and Training Department.
OSHA’s New Interpretation of Post-Accident Drug/Alcohol Testing
On October 11, 2018, OSHA clarified its position regarding post-incident drug testing. Previous to this clarification an employer had to show a reasonable possibility that drug, or alcohol use contributed to the accident in order to require or administer a post-accident drug or alcohol test. Now, testing post-accident would violate OSHA rules only “if the employer took action to penalize the employee for reporting a work-related injury or illness rather than for the legitimate purpose of promoting workplace safety and health.”
OSHA states that “most instances of workplace drug testing” are permissible and OSHA specifically stated all of the following drug testing as allowable:
- Random drug testing;
- Drug testing unrelated to the reporting of a work-related injury or illness, such as reasonable suspicion without an accident;
- Drug testing under a state workers’ compensation law, such as in the case of a city that is a Certified Drug Free Workplace, which permits testing when there is off-site medical attention given to a person;
- Drug testing under other federal law, such as a U.S. Department of Transportation rule, such as when there is a human fatality or disabling damage to a vehicle and the employee is given a motor vehicle citation;
- Drug testing to evaluate the root cause of a workplace incident that harmed or could have harmed employees and the employer chooses to use testing to investigate the incident. In this case, the employer should test all employees whose conduct could have contributed to the incident, not only the employees who reported injuries.
Based on this clarification, cities should consider adding policy language to their drug testing policies that allows the employer to reserve the right to test all employees whose conduct may have contributed to the incident.
For more information on this memorandum, drug testing in general, or to request drug testing training for your city contact Andrea Shindlebower Main or Courtney Risk Straw in KLC’s Municipal Law and Training Department.