SOUTH OGDEN -- In an effort to minimize the impact of employees holding large amounts of comp time, city officials unanimously voted to cap the number of hours city workers can bank at 40.
Previous caps varied by department and fell between 40 and 80 hours. Time is accrued when employees work beyond a 40-hour workweek.
"It's a policy decision to help us reduce the liability of our comp time," City Manager Matt Dixon said. "What we found is, through attrition, we've reduced some staff positions over the last couple years, and it's naturally driven up some of our overtime and comp time. We're looking at that as a liability to the city."
Dixon explained that city staff is working to encourage employees to use the time they've earned while helping the city get down to a manageable cap. The amendment raises vacation caps from 240 to 320 hours for the next 14 months to accommodate those employees who want to move their time over.
Dixon said the time is meant to be used in a short-term turnaround, but reduced staff has made it hard for employees to find time to use their accrued hours.
"Because we've been short-staffed, it's been harder for people to find time away, because they have to cover shifts," Dixon said, explaining that the amendment wasn't proposed because it's a huge problem the city is facing. "It's just a management tool to allow us to get those comp hours down."
Other municipalities have similar rules. For instance, Weber County caps county employee compensatory time at 240 hours, said personnel manager Brad Dee, but supervisors stress that comp time is to be avoided if possible.
"We feel that when any employee works more than 40 hours in a week or 80 hours in a two-week pay period, they should get paid overtime," Dee said. He said most county workers who accumulate comp time are seasonal employees, such as snowplow operators or recreation employees.
"We very seldom have any employees who carry even up to 40 hours of comp time," Dee said. "When we can, we'll adjust a worker's schedule to give time off in the pay period. If that's not possible, we prefer to pay overtime, or as a last resort, we will let them carry comp time."
Layton has a comp time policy that pays employees in January for comp time they have accumulated in the previous year, assistant city manager Jim Mason said. Employees can carry up to 24 hours to use as discretionary time off.
"At the end of the first pay period in January, any comp time accrued over 24 hours will be paid" at their current hourly pay, Mason said. The policy was implemented in 2002 as a way to help supervisors manage employees who had accrued large amounts of comp time.
Dixon said the South Ogden amendment will go into effect immediately, and department heads will work with their staff to find the best way for them to make reductions.
Standard-Examiner editor Charlie Pomerleau contributed to this report.