Holiday triple time pay to be reviewed

The Auglaize County commissioners plan to review a policy for pager pay for Auglaize County Department of Jobs and Family Services (ACDJFS) workers after a discrepancy was pointed out and discussed Thursday  during a meeting between county officials.

Currently, the commissioners allow for the ACDJFS to set their own policy in regards to defining holiday pay. The policy defines overtime pay as being “at a rate of one and a half times the amount worked or on a holiday two times the hours worked.”

Interpretation of that policy had been seen differently by different people. Amy Ruppert, office manager with the ACDJFS, said it had been the agency’s intent for that pay to be on top of their pay for a recognized holiday. In effect, this gives called-in workers “triple time” if they are called in on a holiday.

Auglaize County Prosecuting Attorney Edwin Pierce said the policy did not include the phrase “in addition to regular pay.” He said

being the legal representation for both entities put him in a position to only advise of the wording.

“I am in a tough spot here,” Pierce said. “I am everyone’s counsel here.”

Ruppert said it was her agency’s intention to simply just clean up the language in the policy, asking the commissioners to change the wording so workers received the double-time pay in addition to their holiday pay.

She said the problem needed to be looked at fairly quickly with several holidays approaching, including Columbus Day next week and the upcoming Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day holidays.

However, commissioners were not quite so quick to oblige and plan to look into the matter more before making a final decision on the plan.

The commissioners compared the policy to others at agencies that are frequently called to work on holidays, but agreed there were differences that make it difficult to compare the agencies.

Agencies used as examples were the Engineer’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office, which receive time-and-a-half pay in addition to their holiday pay.

“I think it you have to think about if there is a difference to being called in and knowing you have to work on a holiday,” Commissioner Doug Spencer said. “If I know I have to work on a holiday, I can plan for that.”

Commissioner John Bergman also said it is difficult to compare the agency with the Sheriff’s Office due to the Sheriff’s Office deputies belonging to a bargaining agency unit.

With the holidays quickly approaching, commissioners agreed to add wording temporarily to the policy which included “in addition to their regular pay,” in effect continuing the triple time policy until the policy can be further reviewed. However, they plan to revisit the issue and consider changes, meaning the triple time policy is not a guarantee to continue in the future.

They said they plan to have Pat Hire, labor negotiator with Clemans, Nelson and Associates in Lima, review the policy and make comparison to other agencies in the county and throughout the state.

“A precedent is set as they have used this policy before,” Bergman said, “but we also try to be consistent with our policies. We will revisit this after the start of the new year.”

County Auditor Janet Schuler said it was important to clean up the wording of the policy so it did not become a situation during auditing.

The issue of receiving double-time pay was also discussed, bringing up a wide range of possible scenarios. Depending if policies are made to be consistent across the board, and wording is left to include “in addition to regular pay,” a newly determined policy next year could range from one and a half times pay to triple time pay.