Athens City Council Amends Personal Day Policy For Workers
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.