Douglas County Personnel Rules

Douglas County Personnel Rule #5


5.1         Maintenance of Compensation Plan.  The Board shall maintain a compensation plan for all General County positions.  The Plan shall include for each class a minimum and a maximum rate.  The ranges shall reflect the relative responsibilities of the class, availability of labor, market rates of pay and financial conditions of the County.  The Human Resources Director will assist in keeping the Compensation Plan current by conducting periodic studies of market salary rates and making appropriate recommendations to the Board.

5.2         Administration of Compensation Plan.

Except as otherwise allowed in these rules, or on a case-by-case basis approved by the Board of Commissioners:

5.2.1 Rates of Pay.  Each employee shall be paid within the salary range for the class in which the employee is employed.  Payment above the maximum or below the minimum in the range can occur in unusual circumstances, with the recommendation of the Human Resources Director and approval of the Board.  Nothing in these rules shall be construed as a guarantee of, or property interest in, a minimum number of hours of work per day or month.

5.2.2 Entrance Salary. Normally, an employee will be appointed at the entrance rate for the class.  Department Heads have the authority to make an appointment above the entrance rate up to and including step 4.  All appointments above step 1 must be supported by documentation from the department head.  Step 5 and above hires will be subject to review by the Human Resources Director. The Human Resources Director will document all hires above step 1 and periodically report this information to the Board of Commissioners.  In determining such requests, the Department Head or the Human Resources Director shall give consideration to the qualifications of the candidate, availability of applicants and resulting salary relationship with other similar positions in the labor market.  Generally, hiring paperwork must be submitted to the Human Resources Department five work days in advance of the first day worked.

5.2.3 Performance Salary Increases.  Performance salary increases are not automatically granted to employees.  After an evaluation of individual work performance is completed, an employee is eligible for recognition of work performance through a performance salary increase.  Department Heads shall use discretion and process increases only for those employees who have demonstrated high standards of work performance. Eligibility for Performance Salary Increases. A new full-time equivalent employee appointed to the first step of the salary range may be eligible for advancement to a higher step of the salary range for the classification after six continuous months of service where a high standard of performance has been demonstrated in that class.  Such employee may be eligible for further advancement at the conclusion of an additional twelve months of continuous service.  Increases of more than one-step will be subject to review by the Human Resources Director, the Management & Finance Chief Financial Officer and approved by the Board of Commissioners.  The criteria for evaluating requests for increases of more than one-step is found in section of these rules.  Department heads are not allowed to overspend the amount budgeted for merit increases.  An employee appointed above the first step of the salary range will generally serve one year of continuous service before becoming eligible for advancement to the next higher step. Performance Evaluation Preceding Performance Salary Increases.  Prior to consideration of an employee for a performance salary increase, or when at top step or on other such occasions which might warrant it, a personnel evaluation must be completed, a copy of which shall be provided to the employee.  Appointing powers should discuss employee's strong points where normal work standards are met or exceeded and any weak points where improvement is needed.  Such things as quality and quantity of work, adaptability, work habits, and personal relations should be reviewed.

Degrees of work performance should not be confused with experience or seniority; experience and seniority alone do not ensure a high standard of work performance and eligibility for a performance salary increase.  If an employee does not maintain a high standard of work performance, they are not eligible for a performance increase.

The original of the evaluation form is to be maintained in the employee's departmental personnel file and a copy given to the employee and the Human Resources department. Performance Appraisal Appeal Rights.   An employee who disagrees with an appraisal shall be given an opportunity by the Department Head to respond in writing.  The appraisal and response may be reviewed by the Human Resources Director, at the request of the employee, who may act as a mediator if the appeal appears to merit consideration.  If efforts toward reaching agreement are unsuccessful, no further action may be taken.  The employee's response, together with the written conclusion of the Human Resources Director, if any, shall be filed with the appraisal form.

Performance appraisals shall not be appealable under Rule 11 because there is no presumed entitlement to any specific amount of money. Effective Date of Performance Salary Increases.   Performance salary increases will be effective the first day of the pay period in which the employee becomes eligible.  The first day of the month shall be the anniversary date of an employee whose first day of work is on or before the fifteenth day of the month and the first day of the following month shall be the anniversary date of an employee whose first day of work is on or after the sixteenth day of the month. Exceptional Increases. A Department Head may request the Board approve an exception to the general rules regarding salary increases where circumstances warrant such action.  Exceptions will be subject to review by the Human Resources Director, the Management and Finance Chief Financial Officer and approved by Board of Commissioners.  Departments will need to provide in their requests supporting documentation of exceptional performance by the employee; demonstration that their budget can support the requested increase; and demonstration there is a likely adverse operational impact to the Department if they are not granted the exception. Movement to Higher Classification. When promoted or reclassified upward, an employee may be given an immediate increase to the next higher rate in the new salary range.  An employee placed on the first step in the new range who received a full step salary increase or greater will have their anniversary date adjusted to six months from the effective date of the promotion.  Employees placed above the entry step and who receive a full step salary increase will have their anniversary date adjusted to 12 months from the effective date of the adjustment.  When an employee receives less than a full step salary increase, the anniversary date shall not be adjusted.

5.2.4 Demotion.  If an employee is demoted or reclassified to a class with a lower salary range for reasons which do not reflect discredit on their employment record, at the discretion of the Department Head, their salary rate may remain the same unless such action would violate 5.2.1 of this rule.  Demotion for cause should ordinarily result in a corresponding reduction in salary.

5.2.5 Transfer.  Normally when an employee is transferred within the same classification intradepartmentally, their rate of pay remains the same.  The salary rate for an interdepartmental transfer within the same classification or the same salary range is determined by the Department Head with approval by the Board where required.

5.3          Cost of Performance Increases.  Each Department Head shall include in their annual budget request an amount sufficient to cover the cost of the performance increases as provided in Rule 5.2.3.  The Board will take appropriate steps to insure that a uniform policy for all departments will be followed providing funds for performance increases.

5.4          Salary Range Adjustments.

5.4.1 General.  The compensation plan for County personnel shall provide reasonable competitive ranges of pay for each classification of employment.  Following procedures set forth in Rule 4 Classification Plan, the Board may make adjustments in a salary range or ranges as necessary to attract and hold competent personnel.  Such salary range adjustments are to be distinguished from service anniversary salary increases as they are not intended to give recognition to length or quality of service but are to be based solely on prevailing rates of pay for the various classes of work in the County service. An adjustment in salary range does not, in and of itself, result in any salary increase for employees whose salary is in that range.

5.5         Overtime Policy.  It is the policy of Douglas County to reduce to a minimum the necessity for overtime work.  The Department Head or designee must approve overtime prior to it actually being worked.

There will be no exceptions to the overtime policy outlined in this section unless prior approval is received in writing from the Board of Commissioners and filed in the Human Resources Department.

5.5.1 Definition of Overtime.  Overtime shall be considered as time worked in excess of 40 hours per week.  As described in Personnel rule 8.1 (Hours of Work), vacation leave, sick leave, holidays and compensatory time taken are not considered "hours worked" for purposes of determining whether an exempt or non-exempt employee has worked sufficient hours to be eligible for overtime compensation consideration. Compensation shall not be paid twice for the same hours nor shall the same hours be used twice for computations of overtime. Non-exempt Classifications.  Overtime hours can be paid or, at the employee's option with Department Head approval, accumulated at time and one-half up to a maximum of 40 hours and taken as comp time off.  Any hours not taken in the fiscal year in which they were earned will be paid to the employee with the last payroll check in June of each year. Exempt Classifications.  The Board may exempt certain positions from overtime pay on the basis of the nature of work and/or conditions of employment.  The Board's decisions on exempt classifications will be consistent with applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations.  Classifications listed in the Pay Plan which are preceded by an asterisk are exempt from any overtime payment.

An employee assigned to a position that has been exempted from overtime under has no legal entitlement to receive more than their regular bi-weekly salary, except as allowed by these Rules.  An exempt employee who meets the overtime eligibility criterion contained in 5.5.1 (Definition of Overtime), may be eligible to accumulate compensatory leave on an hour-for-hour basis for work performed that has been identified and pre-approved as overtime by the department head.  This overtime work is work outside the exempt employee's normal schedule that the department head feels is above and beyond what is normally and routinely expected of that specific position.  Department Heads are expected to ensure that any compensatory time that is accrued is the result of a legitimate business need and not the result of personal work habits or personal work preferences of the particular employee. 

Maximum accumulation of compensatory time for exempt employees will be limited to 40 hours. Executive Salaried Positions. The Board may define certain positions, e.g., appointed department heads, as executive salaried meaning that the positions do not earn or accrue any overtime compensation.

Salaries for Board-defined Executive Salaried positions will be calculated and paid on a bi-weekly basis.  These employees will be required to sign a timesheet certifying that they are entitled to their bi-weekly salary for that period and to report any use of paid or unpaid leave.

5.5.2         On-Call. On-call as opposed to subject-to-call occurs when an employee is required by their department head during non-duty hours to be available at home, to carry a pager and take calls and, when required, to report to work. Prior to the establishment of any on-call program, the department head will submit a written proposal to the Human Resources Director.  Programs that meet the following criteria can be approved by the Human Resources Director, provided funds have been budgeted.  Proposals that fall outside these guidelines, or where funds have not been previously budgeted, require approval by the Board of Commissioners with a recommendation from the Human Resources Director. On-Call Pay.  For each full week a non-exempt employee remains on 24-hour on-call status, the employee shall receive four (4) hours of compensatory time at the straight-time rate. For purposes of overtime, on-call compensatory time is not considered hours worked. Call-In Pay.  Non-exempt employees called to work outside their regular shift shall be paid on the basis of two (2) hours minimum call-in pay at the rate of time and one-half (1-1/2) of their regular straight-time rate. For purposes of this rule, extensions of an employee's regular shift or early call to work contiguous to the employee's normal shift do not fall under this policy and will be compensated under normal county policy.  Compensation shall not be paid twice for the same hours, nor shall the same hours be used twice in the computation of overtime.

5.5.3 Holidays.  Work performed on holidays listed in Rule 8.3 of these rules which fall within an employee's regular work schedule shall be considered as time worked and, except for exempt employees, shall be compensated at one and one-half straight time rate in addition to their regular holiday pay.  If a holiday occurs on a day that an eligible employee normally has off, the employee shall be entitled to holiday pay.  Non-exempt employees shall not work on holidays without prior approval of their Department Head.

Exempt employees who are required and pre-approved by the department head to work on holidays shall be entitled to take compensatory straight time off subject to the conditions set forth in Rule above.  (See also 8.6, Holiday Work.)

Eligible part-time employees (those budgeted at .50 FTE or more) will receive pro-rated holiday benefits in accordance with Rule 8.5.3 based on the method of calculation outlined in the policy memo from Management & Finance dated 6-30-93.

Part-time employees budgeted at less than .5 FTE, temporary, emergency hire, and on-call shall be paid only for hours worked on holidays, and shall not be entitled to holiday pay.

5.6 Recording and Payment for Work and Non-Work Time

5.6.1.  It is the policy of Douglas County that timesheets accurately reflect all hours associated with an employee’s employment.  All pay and time records will be on forms approved by the Chief Financial Officer.   It is the policy and practice of Douglas County to accurately compensate employees and to do so in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws.   Douglas County is a public employer whose policies and practices are established pursuant to principles of public accountability.  The County’s public accountability pay system requires us to make deductions when an employee is absent from work.  To ensure that employees are paid properly for all time worked and that no improper deductions are made, employees are required to correctly record total hours on their timesheets.  For purposes of this section, ‘total hours’ means the correct designation of an employee’s timesheet (i.e., regular hours worked, vacation, holiday, overtime, unpaid leave, etc.) as it relates to their employment status (exempt, non-exempt, part-time, full time, etc.).  Non-Exempt employees.
A non-exempt employee is eligible for overtime pay as set forth in Personnel Rule 5.5.  An accurate record of the total hours must be recorded on an employee’s timesheet.  Each employee must sign his or her timesheet to verify that the reported hours worked are complete and accurate and that there is no unrecorded or ‘off-the-clock’ work time.  Additionally, time sheets must be signed by either the employee’s supervisor, Department Head, or authorized designee.  Exempt employees.    
An Exempt employee, as defined in Personnel Rule, is required to accurately record all total hours on their timesheet, and must sign his or her timesheet to verify that the reported hours worked are complete and accurate and that there is no unrecorded ‘off-the-clock’ work time.  Pursuant to the County’s policy and practice of public accountability, partial day deductions may be imposed as allowed by state and/or federal law after all accrued leave balances have been exhausted.  Additionally, time sheets must be signed by either the employee’s supervisor, Department Head, or authorized designee.  Any employee who makes a falsification on a timesheet is subject to disciplinary action up to and including immediate discharge.  If an employee’s reported hours changes between the time they turn in their timesheet and when bi-weekly payroll closes, a timesheet adjustment form must be submitted in the following pay period.

5.6.2.  Reporting Inaccuracies and Violations.  Employees should review their bi-weekly paystubs promptly and must report any errors or inaccuracies to your supervisor, department head or Management & Finance.  Douglas County will promptly investigate and take any corrective action that is necessary.  Douglas County will not allow any form of retaliation against individuals who report alleged violations of this policy or who cooperate in the investigation of such reports.  Any form of retaliation is unacceptable, in violation of this policy, and will result in disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.

rev 12-16-2015