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City Offers Furloughs
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Seeking to avoid employee layoffs and provide salary savings, Riverbank City Council members on Monday agreed to allow employees to voluntarily take unpaid leave or furloughs of up to five days per fiscal year.

Prior to implementing this program, however, the City will have to meet with employee bargaining units. Any type of pay reduction or time off arrangement that impacts wages or hours triggers a duty to meet and confer, said City Manager Rich Holmer.

Looking at the potential financial impact, he noted if 100 percent of employees take advantage of the program, there would be a potential savings of $93,600 plus health and retirement benefits. For 25 percent of the workforce, the savings will amount to $23,419.

"It's nice to start with something voluntary before it becomes mandatory, " he commented. "This is in the nature of a test for the employees response."

"We've begun looking at saving on employees salaries and benefits. So this could be a start," said Mayor David I. White in making the motion that drew a unanimous 4-0 vote. Dave White was absent from the council meeting.

Once individual employees agree in writing to a furlough on particular dates, they cannot rescind or terminate participation until the end of the fiscal year.

Gross pay will be reduced to accommodate the furloughs and the deductions spread equally over the pay periods remaining in the fiscal year after the date of a signed agreement.

The policy encourages employees to take furloughs during the Thanksgiving holiday week and between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.

Furlough days must be taken in whole day increments and the voluntary time off be approved by a department head and be consistent with the needs of the city.

Employees can take time off either all at once or intermittently during the fiscal year.

Exempt employees such as management who decide to use the program will not be paid for overtime worked to make up the time lost such as to attend a required meeting.

If the city ultimately requires mandatory furloughs, employees will receive credit for the days already taken under the voluntary program.