Commissioners approve voluntary furlough program

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A voluntary furlough program is being created for Sibley County employees to take time off without pay.

County Commissioners recently approved the proposed policy. The time off without pay may be requested up to eight hours per pay period from September through December 2009. The program may be extended into 2010, as dictated by economic needs and at the discretion of the County Board.

The program is intended to give monetary relief to the County budget during the time of economic stress, but is not intended to create a hardship on any particular department or the overall County operations. The County hopes to use the program as a means to off-set increased operating costs, compounded by significant reduction in state aid and other program funding, according to the policy.

All furlough requests must be approved by the department head. Leave will only be granted when business operations can be supported in the employee’s absence.

The furlough must not result in additional cost to the County, such as another employee having to work overtime hours. For exempt employees paid on a salary basis, the employee must be treated as a non-exempt employee for that week, and that they need to be paid for all hours worked in that week. It is recommended that exempt employees be required to use eight hours in the same work week and to not exceed 32 worked hours in said week.

Minimum furlough time to be taken off on a specified date is one hour. Insurance benefits, vacation and sick accrual, and holiday pay will not be affected during the voluntary time off.

Employees should request the furlough time as far in advance as possible, preferably two weeks, but all cases must be approved in writing by the department head/supervisor before time is taken.

Time off may be scheduled for the remainder of the calendar year or on a month-to-month basis, as deemed appropriate by the department head/supervisor. Department heads and employees will be responsible to ensure leave does not exceed eight hours per pay period.

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