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New policy approved

WINTON – The Hertford County Board of Commissioners have approved a policy dealing with county employees who are accustomed to being on call and/or called back to work after their normal daily duties have ended.

Keri Askew, the county’s Human Resource Director, presented the information to the Commissioners during their regularly scheduled meeting on July 16.

Askew said the county provides a continuous 24 hours a day, seven days a week service to its citizens.

“Therefore, it is necessary for certain employees to respond to any reasonable request for duty at any hour of the day or night,” Askew explained to the board.

She added that some employees may be required, as a condition of their employment, to be scheduled on an on-call basis and/or return to work in excess of their regular work schedule in order to provide continuous service to customers or citizens, or to respond to emergencies.

The specific departments this policy will apply to are those in 24/7 positions, specifically the Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Medical Services, Department of Social Services (particularly the Child Services division), and Public Works (particularly the water department).

Should the county offices be closed due to inclement weather, or during a week containing one or more holidays, “Condition One” employees will fall under the call-back policy as well.

In her presentation, Askew listed the policy’s provisions, which are:

  1. On-call ”waiting to be engaged” status is not considered work time and, thus, is not compensable. However, in recognition of the potential inconvenience, employees in this status will receive an on-call premium at a rate of one-hour per on-call week-day 24-hour period and two hours per each Saturday, Sunday or Holiday 24-hour period (i.e. Monday-Friday= 1 hour per day, Saturday, Sunday, and Holiday = 2 hours per day). Employees will not be paid the
  2. hours earned while on-call, rather, the hours will be added to the employee’s compensatory time to be taken at a later time.
  3. Hours actually worked while on call-back are calculated beginning when the employee reports to the work site (not commuting time) and are added to the regular total hours worked for the week.
  4. When an employee is called back the employee will be guaranteed a payment of two hours, or the total call-back hours worked in a 24-hour period, whichever is greater.
  5. An employee has to be in a working status to be designated as an on-call employee. The employee will be removed from on-call status if they have to leave work during their normal working hours for any reason other than their assigned working duties. An employee who uses gap time, compensatory time, holiday leave, vacation leave, and/or sick leave will not be considered in an on-call status for that 24-hour period.
  6. An employee on-call must be able to answer a call within five minutes and respond in person to a call or incident within 30 minutes.
  7. Employees on-call will need to indicate they are on-call on their timesheet. The column available for notes will need to state on-call for the week they have been designated on-call. When an employee is called back to work after hours they will need to also indicate call-back in the notes section of their timesheet.
  8. Employees on-call during a holiday week that are called back to work will receive that time worked as compensatory time. The employee will receive their holiday pay for the week. The time worked due to call-back will be recorded under the compensatory time. Only when the employee has actually worked over 40 hours will they begin to calculate overtime.

At the close of her presentation, Commissioner Ronald Gatling inquired if this policy was new or revised from an existing policy.

Askew responded that some of the county departments have such a policy, but the wording pertained only to the employees of that particular department.

“We needed a clear, across-the-board policy that pertains to all departments and all employees,” Askew noted.

In a 5-0 vote, the Commissioners then approved the adoption of the policy.

 

 

 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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