HR Weekly News -
Get Required Workplace Posters at No Charge
Kentucky statutes and federal regulations enforced by agencies within the Department of Labor require that certain posters or notices be posted in a conspicuous area in the workplace. Posting requirements vary by statute; that is, not all employers are covered by each of the Department of Labor's federal or state statutes and thus may not be required to post a specific notice.
However, for those posters and notices that cities must post, there is no need for cities to purchase from companies, as cities can find all the required posters at no cost on the following links:
Kentucky Safety Poster:
Kentucky Child Labor Laws:
Kentucky Wage and Hour:
Kentucky Wage Discrimination:
Kentucky Equal Employment Opportunity:
The US Department of Labor website also provides assistance for employers in deciding which federal posters are required at https://www.dol.gov/general/topics/posters, as well as providing those posters for free.
KLC strives to notify cities of new poster requirements and changes as they occur; however, all city employers should check the above link and the Federal and State Department of Labor websites frequently as the statutory laws and federal regulations can change. Failure to comply with the requirements for posting can result in fines of up to $7,500 per inspection.
For more information on this or any personnel-related matters contact Andrea Shindlebower, personnel services specialist.
Spring Forward … Straight time or overtime?
That can be the question when clocks are set forward one hour March 11th
The arrival of daylight saving time requires clocks to be moved forward one hour at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 11. Shift workers who are on duty at that time and who normally work an eight-hour shift will actually work only seven hours.
"Some employers decide to pay the normal eight hours of pay for that shift as a matter of policy, but under the Fair Labor Standards Act, they are not required to include the additional hour of pay when calculating an employee's regular rate for overtime," noted Heidi Henson, JD, CCH workplace analyst.
For example, if someone actually works 40 hours in the week, the additional hour's pay for that daylight-saving hour would be at straight time, not overtime. Even if the employee works over 40 hours in the city’s defined workweek, that one hour would not have to be included in the overtime calculations.
For more information or sample policies on this or any other personnel related matters contact Andrea Shindlebower, personnel services specialist.
Weekly HR News –
Romance in the Workplace
Love is in the air! And unfortunately for cities, sometimes that love can come in the form of those in employee relationships. So what is an employer to do about these situations?
Some employers choose to enact policies that complete ban romantic relationships in the workplace, but even this is not without its own set of issues. By completely banning you can force employees that are in a romantic relationship to go into hiding, which leaves the city completely unaware and unprepared for the issues that may result. By not dealing with this out in the open it can be the source of even bigger problems down the road.
Other employers choose to allow it to happen as long as there is disclosure. This can also create problems of its own. Many employees will perceive that preferential treatment is being received by a coworker based on their relationship, especially when one is in a supervisory role over the other.
No matter the policy that your city enacts, you need to review your ethics ordinance and personnel policies to see what they say about employees and supervisory relationships. In addition, does this relationship create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest and is it the subject of office gossip? Any relationship, whether it is causal or romantic should not have a negative impact on city business. And lastly, if love goes south, an employee can claim retaliation and harassment based on the previous relationship, which along with many other problems, may prove to be costly in court.
So how can the city protect itself from love gone wrong?
- First, have a clearly written policy with expectations set out in an easy to read and understand format. And, it is recommended that those in supervisory positions should not be allowed to date subordinates under any circumstances.
- Second, if your city ethics ordinance applies to city employees, and your nepotism policy applies to dating relationships, be certain that it is also included in the personnel policy.
- Lastly make sure that your sexual harassment policy is up to date, has a clearly established complaint procedure and that all employees and supervisors are trained on what the policy states and what it requires.
Running a city is not all champagne and roses, so you need to protect the city by being proactive. One of the ways to do this is to have a current and legally compliant personnel policy. If your city needs to update personnel policies you need to work with someone who not only has expertise in personnel law and human resource matters, but someone who knows municipal law as well. KLC can offer this expertise in a way that is specific to your city needs. Whether it is creating or reviewing city personnel policies, providing training on your city policies, sexual harassment, or on a variety of specialized HR topics, we have you covered. For more information on this service or any other personnel related matters contact Andrea Shindlebower Main, personnel services specialist.
Weekly HR – Mileage Reimbursement
IRS Raises Standard Mileage Reimbursement Rates for 2018
For cities that use the IRS rate to reimburse for mileage, be aware that on January 1, 2018, the IRS raised the standard mileage reimbursement rates. That rate went up from 53.5 cents per mile to 54.5 on January 1, 2018.
For more information, sample policies or questions contact Andrea Shindlebower at email@example.com. Or for the IRS article go to https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/standard-mileage-rates-for-2018-up-from-rates-for-2017.
Weekly HR News –
Municipal Employee Handbooks
Every year brings new challenges, and one of those challenges is the city’s employee handbook. An employee handbook is a valuable communication tool to allow employees to understand what is expected of them and what they can expect from the city as the employer. In addition, an employee handbook will be of vital importance in defending an employment-related claim. It shows that your city had in place personnel and employee policies relating to the employment relationship, that the employee was aware of those policies and that those policies were followed by the city.
Employee handbooks should be drafted in clear, concise and easy-to-understand language. At a minimum, employee handbooks should include the following:
- A conspicuous disclaimer in the front of the handbook that the handbook does not create contractual rights and that employees continue to be terminable at will. The statement should be something to the effect of:
The City Employee Handbook does not create any contractual or other legal rights. The personnel policies contained in this Handbook do not alter the city’s at-will employment policy nor does it create an employment contract for any period of time.
- A clear, comprehensive equal employment opportunity statement such as:
The city provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, status as a smoker or nonsmoker, disability, or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, the city complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.
3. An up-to-date harassment policy. Sexual harassment was headline news in 2017, so no better time than the present to be certain that your city's sexual harassment/discrimination policy is in place and condemns all forms of unlawful harassment, not only sexual harassment. The policy should also clearly set out an easy-to-follow process for filing a complaint, anti-retaliation provisions, and statement regarding what action will be taken if it is determined that harassment or discrimination has occurred. As important as having this written policy is, the training that is provided to employees should also be a high priority.
4. An explanation of the employee disciplinary procedures stating the types of behavior that will subject an employee to discipline or immediate termination and the process that will be followed in addressing disciplinary problems. Cities should also be certain to include language that the list of prohibited behaviors is not all inclusive.
5. A policy on workplace violence that condemns these actions as well as provides information on the complaint process and anti-retaliation provisions. In addition, if your city addresses weapons in the workplace, make sure that this policy is based on the current state of the law.
6. Detailed information on the drug and alcohol testing policy, especially, if your city has safety sensitive or federally regulated positions. Make sure that you know the laws that apply to all of your city positions and that it is correctly reflected in this policy.
In addition to the above, an employee handbook may address any policies, rules and practices within the city, such as: overtime, benefits, dress codes, social media policies and safety guidelines. Be clear and concise with all of your policies and always provide training and time for questions whenever a new policy is implemented.
Cities should also be certain that every employee is provided with a personal copy of the employee handbook at the time of hire. Employees should sign an acknowledgement stating that they received a copy of the employee handbook and that they are responsible for reading and understanding the information contained in the handbook. This signed acknowledgement should be placed in the employee's personnel file. In addition, any time that an amendment is made to the handbook, employees should be required to sign an additional acknowledgment regarding the specific change.
The executive authority should annually review city policies to be certain they are up-to-date with any recent employment law changes, as well as changes in city practices. If it has been more than a few years since they were last updated, they are not current. Checking on these matters now could prevent costly liability issues from occurring in the future.
If you need to update your policies, keep in mind that cities are unique. When it comes to creating or updating your personnel policies, you need to work with someone who not only has expertise in personnel law and human resource matters, but someone who knows municipal law as well. KLC can offer this expertise in a way that is specific to your city’s needs. Whether it is creating or reviewing city personnel policies or providing training on your city policies or on a variety of specialized HR topics, KLC has you covered. For more information on this service or any other personnel-related matters, contact Andrea Shindlebower Main, KLC personnel services specialist.
Weekly HR News –Leaves of Absence
Comprehending Comp Time
With winter weather looming, along with the extra work it brings, many city employees will be working longer than normal schedules. The question then becomes whether or not a city can allow its employees to earn compensatory time, also known as comp time.
In years past, compensatory time was only an option for counties. Then in 2009, KRS 337.285 was amended to permit cities and their nonexempt city employees to agree on the earning of compensatory time in lieu of overtime pay.
The statute does set some guidelines for the allowance of comp time:
- It only applies to non-exempt (hourly) employees; however, employers can provide comp time as a fringe benefit to exempt employees through policy and it would not have to follow this statute.
- The request to accrue compensatory time must be made in writing, freely and without pressure or suggestion by the employer, before performance of the work.
- If authorized in writing by the employer, an employee may accrue compensatory time in lieu of overtime pay at the rate of not less than one and one half hours for each hour the employee is authorized to work in excess of 40 hours in a work week.
- The maximum number of compensatory hours that may be accrued is 480 for city employees engaged in a public safety, emergency response or seasonal activity. For employees engaged in all other work, 240 hours are allowed. Any hours over these maximums must be paid to the employee in overtime compensation at the regular rate earned by the employee at the time the employee receives the payment. In addition, a city can set the maximum accrual hours at less than the statutory maximums.
- A city employee who requests the use of compensatory time must be allowed to use the compensatory time within a reasonable period after making the request, if use of the compensatory time does not unduly disrupt operations of the employer. Mere inconvenience to the employer is not a sufficient basis for denial.
- An employer cannot use compensatory time as a means to avoid statutory overtime compensation. Therefore, an employer cannot pressure an employee to accept more compensatory time than the employer can realistically expect to be able to grant within a reasonable period.
- Upon termination of employment, all unused accrued compensatory time earned by nonexempt employees must be paid at a rate of compensation not less than the average rate received by the employee during the last three years or the final regular rate received by the employee, whichever is higher.
For additional questions regarding comp time for exempt and nonexempt employees or for sample policies or the required agreement, contact personnel services specialist, Andrea Shindlebower Main, at firstname.lastname@example.org