March 19, 2019

It's Spring - How are you Doing on your 2019 HR Resolutions?

How are you doing on your HR resolutions?  This is a great time for a city to pause and reflect on how it can improve and become even better.
Below are KLC’s top 10 personnel resolutions for 2019. 

How are you doing so far? 

10. Review and Revise Your Personnel Policy

Take a look at your city’s personnel policies to ensure that they comply with any new employment law changes during the past year and beyond. In addition, some city policies should be updated to reflect the policies and practices of the current administration. If you need sample policies or assistance with an update of your personnel policies, contact KLC and ask for Andrea or Courtney.

9. Adopt Equal Pay Policies

The movement to equalize pay between men and women will continue to gain momentum in the new year. Resolve in the new year to adopt practices to eliminate the wage gap including regularly reviewing compensation to identify possible discrepancies and implementing good hiring practices. For example, consider not asking for a salary history during the application process to prevent women, who are traditionally paid less, from continuing to earn a lower wage.

8. Adopt an Open-Door Policy

Review your harassment and discrimination policies to ensure employees have multiple avenues for reporting issues. Policies that require an employee to report to a single individual are not viewed favorably. Also, evaluate your work culture to ensure employees feel there is a true open door. Having a good policy is meaningless if, in practice, employees are afraid to come forward.

7. Keep Drug and Alcohol Testing Policies Compliant

The new year is a good time to review your drug and alcohol testing policies to make sure they are legally compliant. Some older policies still require testing post-accident every time. However, in 2016, OSHA stated blanket testing polices are not viewed favorably and likely would be considered a violation.  Instead, employees should be tested post-accident when there is reason to suspect drugs or alcohol caused the accident. Additionally, changes following Kentucky House Bill 2, which became effective in July 2018, now require blood testing post-accident; urine and/or Breathalyzer is no longer sufficient for a workers’ compensation defense. Contact KLC for more information, including a post-accident checklist.

6. Plan Your Annual Trainings

After reviewing your Drug- and Alcohol-Free Workplace Policy, plan your annual drug and alcohol testing training to discuss any updates and expectations from supervisors and employees. Additionally, tell your supervisors to incorporate a review of the city’s discriminatory workplace harassment policy in their first
department meeting of the new year. Reviewing the harassment policy periodically with employees reminds employees what behavior is not tolerated, shows that the city takes harassment issues seriously, and can bolster the employer’s defenses to most harassment claims. If your city would like KLC to review
your policy and implement a training program, contact KLC to schedule a date.

5. Explore Remote Workforce Policies

The trend toward supporting a more mobile workforce will continue in 2019. Cities have always had employees who work outside of the office (e.g., streets, public works, police, firefighters), but as this trend continues, other positions may be conducive to working from home or working from the office on an
alternative schedule. Cities should ensure their policies match their practices: working hours, shift lengths, vehicle policies, distracted driving policies, cellphone policies and workers’ compensation policies.

Additionally, cities should consider whether offering flexibility, if possible, can be a useful recruitment and retention tool to support employees.

4. Make Sure Your Employment Law Posters Are Current

Kentucky statutes and federal regulations enforced by agencies within the Department of Labor (DOL) require that certain posters or notices be posted in a conspicuous area in the workplace. Posting requirements vary by statute; that is, not all employers are covered by each of the statutes and thus may
not be required to post a specific notice. For information on the required federal posters, you can go to the DOL website at www.dol.gov/general/topics/posters. Both the Kentucky and federal DOL websites provide all required posters for free. Links to federal and Kentucky posters can be found on the KLC
HR/Personnel section at www.klc.org.

3. Review Employee Files to Make Sure You Have All Necessary Forms

Cities need to have certain forms for each employee in their personnel files. These include the Employee Handbook Acknowledgment; Background Check Release Form; Driver’s License Background Check Release Form; and Drug- and Alcohol-Free Workplace Policy Acknowledgment. Additionally, review files to determine proper forms have been obtained for those employees who are on FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) or other leaves. Last, cities need to have an I-9 Form for all employees. I-9 Forms need to be kept in a separate file and in alphabetical order for easy access if your city is audited.

2. Implement a Blind Application

In a continuing effort to eliminate discrimination in hiring practices, cities can consider adopting a “blind
application.” This would place all identifying information on the first page, which could be removed prior to
review of the candidate. In doing so, cities would not know the candidate’s age or name; names can
implicitly reveal gender, race or ethnicity. This prevents any unconscious bias impacting the review of the
candidate. Contact KLC for a sample blind application.

1. Become a KLC Certified City of Ethics

Resolve in the new year to review and implement the best ethical practices. The KLC Certified City of
Ethics program provides a review of the existing ethics ordinance, recommends any potential changes,
and provides a training to city officials and Board of Ethics members on the city’s ethics ordinance.

For more information on these topics or any other personnel issues, contact Andrea Shindlebower Main,KLC’s personnel services manager, or Courtney Risk Straw, personnel services attorney.