Monday, December 17, 2012

Civil service department proposes eliminating emergency overtime for highest-paid city employees

Posted By on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Staff from the New Orleans Civil Service Department is proposing the elimination of emergency overtime pay for all salaried employees — who are excluded from overtime pay except in an emergency declaration — who make more than $100,000 per year. The rule change would also limit emergency overtime for all salaried employees unless a declaration lasts at least two weeks.

The proposal would only affect overtime pay during emergencies, which is time-and-a-half for 40-plus-hour workweeks. It would not cut overtime for hourly city employees who are always eligible for overtime.

Nor would it affect emergency pay, time-and-a-half to workers for any hours worked during an emergency. Essential employees, required to report to work during emergencies, now receive both: time-and-a-half emergency pay up to 40 hours, then time-and-a-half emergency pay and time-and-a-half emergency overtime after that. "In practice ... time and a half for their first 40 hours, then double time for every hour after that," the Times-Picayune reported.

Of course, these are all multipliers of normal pay rates, so upper management gets the most out of them.

(More after the jump)

The Civil Service Department proposal comes after media reports showing that some of the highest-paid city employees took home more than $200,000 in combined overtime and emergency rate pay during the Hurricane Isaac emergency declaration.

"Essentially, staff is recommending that emergency overtime pay be limited to those who do not meet the [Fair Labor Standards Act] definition of a highly compensated worker," said Robert Hagmann, a personnel administrator for the department, at today's Civil Service Commission meeting.

Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin's office has offered a counter-proposal that would cap emergency workdays at 12 hours for deputy directors and above.

Raymond Burkart, an attorney for the Fraternal Order of Police, asked that any change reducing or capping overtime pay exclude high-ranking police officers.

The Civil Service Commission did not vote on the policy today. Chairman Kevin Wildes said the department is conducting a complete review of the current policy and will report back with a final proposal in an upcoming meeting.

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