Athens City Council Amends Personal Day Policy For Workers

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ATHENS, Ala.(WHNT)-Athens City Council members have voted to amend the personal day policy for city employees, a move that impacts how much time firefighters can or can’t take off.

Council members approved the amendment in a 4-1 vote Monday evening. It defines a paid personal day for all city employees as eight hours.

Some members of the Athens Fire Department had voiced concerns over the amendment, noting it would only cover one-third of their standard daily shift. Firefighters in Athens work a 24 hour-on, 48 hour-off schedule, and have always been allowed to take an entire 24 hour shift off when using a personal day. But Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks told WHNT News 19 that the old standard is one the city simply cannot afford.

“Any time you touch people’s pay or you look at their time off, it’s a very sensitive issue,” said Mayor Marks. “I don’t know why it [existing city policy] got interpreted to be a shift…What was happening was a firefighter takes 24 hours of their personal time off, then we call somebody in and we pay them time and a half on top of this, so it’s a costly endeavor to the city of Athens.”

The personal leave vote comes on the heels of similar sick leave amendments passed by the council earlier this year. Mayor Marks said the moves will keep pension funds for city workers sustainable in the long-term.

The new changes take effect on January 1, 2014. The city of Athens instituted paid personal days for city employees in 1996.

1 Comment

  • Jim M

    I think the Sick leave policy was excessive by letting Sick Leave accumulate in the amounts of years to be paid out when they retire. I think it would be much better to allow so much Sick leave a year and it could carry over but could max out at say 300 hrs a year and it would not exceed 300 total any year. So if you accumulated 450 hrs, then Dec 31 it would reset to 300. Accumulation of sick time doesnt make sense, it was not meant to be paid time unless you were sick. Ref the time off for Firefighters I think a personal day should be a shift day because their shift is their day.

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