Last week the Frederick County Board of Commissioners reviewed a proposal that would cut benefits for the county’s 2,250 full-time employees as well as any new hires-an effort that would save the county money. Mitch Hose, director of the county’s Human Resources Division, recommended a number of changes including altering the county’s sick leave policy, reducing the number of paid holidays, and increased employee contributions to pension plans. The Gazette reports:
The recommendations include changes to the sick leave policy. For instance, sick leave currently is accrued based on the number of years the employee has worked for the county. Employees working for the county for two years or less accrue 9.75 days of sick leave per year. Employees with two to 10 years get 16.25 days per year, and employees with 10 years or more accrue 22.75 days of sick leave.
…extended sick leave, or short-term disability benefits, be shortened from 12 months to six months, starting July 1. If the employee is unable to return to work after the six months, the county will not guarantee their job. The county will offer a long-term disability benefit the employee may purchase. But the county will not contribute any money.
Hose recommended the number of holidays be reduced from 13 to 11. Employees would lose Good Friday and Christmas Eve. Hose also suggested that during an election year, employees no longer be off on the day of the primary or the general election.
By eliminating the holidays and the primary and general election, the county would be open an additional two to four days a year. Since the county would not have to pay overtime for employees that now have to work on those days, there would be budget savings of $180,000 per day, Hose said.
Finally, starting July 1, new employees, with the exception of law enforcement and firefighters, would be required to contribute 6 percent of their pay to their pension, instead of the current 4 percent.
The Board of Commissioners will discuss the issue at their September 18th meeting. A public hearing will be scheduled to allow for residents and employees to offer comments.