County work­ers re­ceive 3 paid hol­i­days

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE EVER­SON deverson@cov­news.com

County em­ploy­ees will be happy to know that they’re get­ting paid for three hol­i­days this year, af­ter hav­ing to take sev­eral un­paid hol­i­days in re­cent years.

The New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers at its Tues­day night meet- ing ap­proved up to 24 to­tal hours of hol­i­day pay to all full-time em­ploy­ees cov­er­ing the sched­uled fis­cal year 2013 hol­i­days of Christ­mas Eve, Christ­mas Day and New Year’s Day.

The hol­i­day pay will be paid by a sep­a­rate pay­roll check to full-time em­ploy­ees and made avail­able for distri­bu­tion on Dec. 21, 2012. All nor­mal pay­roll de­duc­tions — taxes, FICA, Medi­care and re­tire­ment per­cent — would be ap­pli­ca­ble. The pay is a one­time pay­roll ad­just­ment, based upon cur­rent fis­cal year bud­get per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors.

Ac­cord­ing to a hol­i­day com­pen­sa­tion rec­om­men­da­tion from County Man­ager John Mid­dle­ton, the pro­jected ex­pense to the gen­eral fund would be $72,300 per hol­i­day or $216,900 for three hol­i­days.

The fund­ing source for the hol­i­day pay will come from The Af­ford­able Health­care Act Re­bate, which is $126,181 the county re­ceived from in­surance provider Cigna, and

$90,719 of ad­di­tional yearto-date Lo­cal Op­tion Sales Tax col­lec­tions.

Cigna gave the county a re­bate in the amount of $138,195 in Au­gust. Of those funds, the county paid its em­ploy­ees 2.5 per­cent of the in­surance pre­mi­ums they paid, which was a re­bate in the amount of $14.10 for sin­gle cov­er­age plans and $23.47 for fam­ily cov­er­age plans.

The to­tal cost of re­bates for the county’s em­ploy­ees was $12,014.16, which re­duced the em­ployer re­bate to $126,181. The re­main­der of the money was set aside pend­ing the De­cem­ber fi­nan­cial re­view by the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers, which in turn re­sulted in fund­ing for three ad­di­tional paid county hol­i­days.

In June, the board ap­proved a $44.89 mil­lion bud­get that re­stored five paid work­ing days to em­ploy­ees, which will cost the county $325,000. Mid­dle­ton and Chair­man Kathy Mor­gan pre­vi­ously said they made the move a pri­or­ity be­cause the county needed to work to­ward mak­ing em­ploy­ees whole again in light of con­tin­ued cuts and low mo­rale.

The five days did not re­vert to paid hol­i­days but rather to reg­u­lar paid work­ing days; the county added lo­cal hol­i­days when the fur­lough days were needed and then re­moved those cre­ated hol­i­days.

Com­mis­sioner Nancy Schulz made the point that the hol­i­day pay was good, but that hol­i­day pay should be re­placed per­ma­nently. She said she hoped it would be an idea con­sid­ered in the up­com­ing fis­cal year bud­get.

“I think that one of the things that we all whole-heart­edly agree on is that our county em­ploy­ees have really been through the grunt of the eco­nomic down­turn in this county,” Schulz said. “We give them a lot of ex­tra re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and we’ve asked them to hang with us and do their jobs and I think that it is very im­por­tant that we honor them with this hol­i­day pay.”

“Our em­ploy­ees do de­serve this and I want to thank John for bring­ing this to us. I think this is a great thing for us to do for our em­ploy­ees,” said Com­mis­sioner Tim Flem­ing.

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