County employee says employment policy unfair

A Boone County employee told county commissioners Monday that their policy regarding use of sick leave, vacation time and compensatory time is unfair.
Jack Nordeen, county weed superintendent, said the county’s current policy requires employees to use up all of their vacation, sick leave and compensatory time before they begin using the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. This law also requires that an employee’s group health benefits be maintained during the leave.
Nordeen said he had researched federal and state websites that encourage employees to save their sick leave and vacation benefits before using FMLA, but the county’s policy “seems to be kicking employees while they are down.”
Commissioner Ken Luettel said he felt the county was complying with the law. However, there could be differences in how the regulations apply to government entities and private businesses.
“If it’s in the law, then that needs to be presented to us (employees) in writing,” said Nordeen.
40-Hour Requirement
In a separate matter, Nordeen discussed a current policy that requires employees to work 40 hours to receive full insurance benefits, and a proposed policy change that would require employees working less than 40-hour weeks to reimburse a portion of premium cost.
Nordeen said most entities require 24 to 30 hours of work for employees to receive the full insurance benefit.
County Clerk Kathy Thorberg pointed out that Boone County is one of only four counties in Nebraska that pay full employee insurance premium costs. Most pay only the employee share of premium cost.
Commissioner Luettel said the proposed policy was intended as an incentive for employees to work full 40-hour weeks.
Nordeen replied that com-missioners receive the full insurance benefit “and you don’t work 40 hours a week.”