Chapter 6 - Benefits

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6.1      Retirement benefits.

  1. For all eligible employees, the City contributes to Social Security, to Medicare, and to Washington State Department of Retirement Systems.
  2. All commissioned uniformed employees in the police department are covered by the Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters Retirement System (LEOFF). Benefit levels and contribution rates are set by the state of Washington.
  3. All regular full-time and eligible part-time non- commissioned employees are covered under the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). Benefit levels and contribution rates are set by Washington.
  4. Employees intending to retire should notify their department head of their intent to retire at least three months prior to retirement. The department head must immediately forward the notice to the Human Resource Generalist.
  5. The City will pay 25% of the value of a retiring employee’s accrued sick leave into a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) VEBA Savings Account in the name of the employee. To qualify for this benefit, the retiring employee must show proof to the City’s satisfaction he or she has requested that the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems make scheduled payments of his or her defined contribution funds. At his/her discretion, the Mayor may waive this requirement.

6.2      Disability benefits.

  1. The State Industrial program (worker’s compensation) covers all employees, except those covered by LEOFF I. Worker’s compensation covers employees in case of on- the-job injuries or job-related illnesses. Employees shall immediately report all job-related accidents to their supervisor. Supervisors shall ensure an employee incident report is completed and submitted to the HR Generalist within eight hours of the accident.
  2. When an employee is absent for one or more days due to an on-the-job accident, he/she must sue for Worker’s Compensation. If the employee sues, the City will continue to pay (by employee’s unused sick leave) the employee’s regular salary pending receipt of Worker’s Compensation Benefits.
  3. If the employee receives Worker’s Compensation Benefits, he/she must repay the City the amount covered by Worker’s Compensation and previously advanced by the City. This policy ensures that employees will receive prompt and regular payment during periods of injury or disability so long as accrued sick leave is available, while ensuring no employee receives more than he/she would have received had the injury not occurred. Upon the repayment of funds advanced, the City shall restore the appropriate sick leave to the employee’s account.
  4. The City may require an examination, at its expense, performed by a physician of its choice, to determine when the employee can return to work and if he/she will be capable of performing the essential duties and responsibilities of the position.
  5. The City’s long-term disability policy covers all employees, except those covered by LEOFF 1.
  6. If an employee cannot continue working for the City because of a disability, as defined by state law, the City will pay 25% of the value of his or her sick leave into a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) VEBA Savings Account in the name of the employee. The City will return any donated sick leave to the donor.

6.3      Insurance benefits.

  1. As outlined in this section, an eligible dependent is an employee’s husband, wife, qualified domestic partner, biological child, stepchild, adopted child, or child of a qualified domestic partner eligible for coverage according to the terms and conditions of the City’s insurance carrier and who is not enrolled in another medical/dental/orthodontia/vision plan. 
  2. Group Insurance - Health and Welfare. The City will maintain a group Medical/Dental/Orthodontia/Vision/Long Term Disability (LTD) insurance. The City agrees to pay 100% of the full premium for an eligible employee for Medical/Dental/Orthodontia/Vision insurance. The City agrees to pay 100% of the full premium for LTD insurance.
  3. An eligible employee may obtain coverage for his or her eligible dependents under the City's Group Medical/Dental/Orthodontia/Vision Insurance Program. The City will pay 100% of the full premium for an employee’s first, eligible dependent and 50% of the full premium for additional, eligible dependents. PROVIDED, however, the City will only pay one premium for an employee (For example, if an employee is also an eligible dependent, he or she must elect to receive insurance as an employee or as a dependent). Premiums are subject to change.
  4. If the City needs to or desires to change the carrier currently providing group insurance coverage during the life of this Agreement, the City will evaluate alternative carriers and insurance packages in determining what group insurance coverage will be provided; and will make a good-faith effort to provide benefits that are substantially similar to those currently in effect.
  5. An employee may waive his or her health insurance benefits. If an employee waives these benefits, the City will contribute $375 per month into a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) VEBA Savings Account in the name of the employee. An employee must elect waiver between November 1 and November 30 of each year, but such time may be extended by the employee if contract negotiations are not completed; in such an event the employee shall have up to 30 days from ratification to elect the wavier. Once an employee elects a waiver, he or she is ineligible to sign up for City benefits until the next open enrollment period, or as provided by law.
  6. If an employee’s husband, wife, qualified domestic partner is eligible for coverage according to the terms and conditions of the City’s insurance carrier and is enrolled in another medical plan, the husband, wife, or qualified domestic partner may not enroll in the City- sponsored medical plan. The City, however, will contribute $375 per month into a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) VEBA Savings Account in the name of the employee.
  7. If an employee’s dependent is eligible for coverage according to the terms and conditions of the City’s insurance carrier and is enrolled in another medical plan, the dependent may not enroll in the City- sponsored medical plan. The City, however, will contribute 50% of the saved premium per month, up to a maximum of $200 per dependent, with a maximum of two dependents, into a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) VEBA Savings Account in the name of the employee. The maximum contribution of the City under this section may not exceed $400.
  8. The maximum that the City will contribute to an employee’s Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) VEBA Savings Account., for any reason, is $1,150 per month.
  9. Life Insurance. Life insurance is available in an amount allowed by the City’s policy through the City’s insurance carrier. The City pays the full premium for a regular full-time employee and for a regular part- time employee. An employee may purchase additional coverage at his or her expense.
  10. Unless an employee takes family and medical leave, as set out, and upon mutual agreement between the City and the employee and under the terms and conditions of the City’s insurance policy, the City will continue health insurance coverage at the employee’s expense during an approved unpaid leave of absence. COBRA continuation rights may apply if coverage is not extended through the City.
  11. During an approved family and medical leave of absence, the City will continue to pay its pro-rata share of the employee’s medical insurance coverage for the first 12 weeks of FMLA leave under the City’s family and medical leave policy.
  12. While an employee is receiving Worker’s Compensation Benefits, the City will pay the employee’s medical insurance premiums for one month, after which the employee may use his/her COBRA rights and self-pay insurance premiums.
  13. Upon an employee’s termination from City employment, at the employee’s option and expense, the employee may elect to continue medical insurance benefits to the extent provided by COBRA.

6.4       Employment recognition and service awards.

The City recognizes employee contributions and service to the City by presenting employee recognition and service awards to eligible employees according to the guidelines below:

  1. The City may reward outstanding performance and productivity by presenting recognition awards to eligible employees. The Mayor will set eligibility requirements and implementing the different programs. Department Heads and supervisors may assist in determining award recipients for the Mayor's Award. Usually, the Mayor will present the award at a City Council meeting following the retirement/resignation of an award recipient. The Mayor identifies employees honored, notifying the presenter, ordering the awards, and arranging for appropriate announcements and publication of awards, both internally and externally.
  2. All regular full-time and regular part-time employees are eligible to receive a Pride in Service award after each five consecutive years of service for the City.