Comp time for St. John’s salaried employees in question

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, April 3, 2019

LAPLACE — Incoming St. John the Baptist Parish employees will likely see a change in the disbursing of funds for compensatory time, but when those potential regulations go into effect and who determines the final policy are in limbo.

A discussion during the March 26 Parish Council meeting sparked a spirited discussion with differing opinions but no resolution.

What is certain, however, is the policy will not affect current employees, as several Council members repeatedly promised.

“If changes are made, make them effective for the 2020 group (of new employees),” Parish President Natalie Robottom urged. “My staff is losing (the benefits) anyway.”

Under the Council’s microscope is the current policy for unclassified, or salaried employees, which was enacted in 2008.

That policy reduced the amount of compensatory time that eligible employees could earn and be paid for. Salaried employees earn compensatory time at a rate of one hour of comp time for each hour worked overtime.

The policy mandates that unused comp time up to 125 hours per calendar time be paid to the employee upon termination at the employee’s regular hourly rate.

The issue becomes a bit more confusing since employees hired after 2010 do not accrue comp time for meetings required of their position, such as attendance at Parish Council meetings, board or commission meetings and working at home.

But they do accrue comp time for working weekends, holidays and during emergencies.

Robottom said the proposed amendment that would cut back on those disbursements not only conflicts with the terms under which unclassified employees were hired but also unfairly penalizes employees for working significantly beyond their work hours.

“It is especially unfair to those who have stayed on the job and plan to stay through the end (of her term),” she said.

Robottom is term-limited and a new administration will take over in January.

Councilman Marvin Perrilloux, who introduced the ordinance, said the idea was first floated several years ago and he was only gauging the Council’s interest in leaving it in the hands of the new administration and Parish Council to make those decisions or adopt a policy that would be effective Jan. 1.

“I don’t see why people on salary get overtime,” councilman Larry Snyder said.

Councilwoman Jaclyn Hotard, who was on the Council in 2008, said the change was originally made because the parish was paying out large amounts of money under the previous policy.

Council members Julia Remondet and Kurt Becnel were adamant about deferring to the new administration, to which Snyder countered the council cannot be afraid to make bold moves.

During the discussion it was pointed out the incoming Council might immediately scrap whatever new policy the current might adopt in the few weeks, effectively abrogating it without ever having gone into effect.

The next council meeting is April 9.

— By Richard Meek