Employee benefits differe among nearby counties, cities

Staff reporter

At a recent Marion County Commission meeting, two of the commissioners discussed the possibility of doing away with the sick leave benefit for county employees.

During the Dec. 31 commission meeting, then-commission chairman Randy Dallke said he wanted to see sick leave abolished, and replaced with five or six days per year of paid time off.

Commissioner Dan Holub agreed with Dallke and said he would rather see short-term disability be used by employees instead of sick leave.

Dallke said he wasn't aware of "any other business" that offered 12 days of sick leave per year.

So, what benefits do other counties offer their employees?

Neighboring counties were contacted — Butler, Chase, Dickinson, Harvey, McPherson, and Morris — as well as the City of Hillsboro and the City of Marion, being the two largest cities in the county.

Overall, Marion County benefits are similar to what other counties offer — with some offering more and some offering less.

The only county to offer paid time off instead of sick and vacation pay, is McPherson County.

Comparably, the total PTO pay offered by McPherson County is comparable to the combination of sick and vacation pay offered by Marion County.

All in all, most counties were similar to Marion County in offering compensation.

The best or most days paid by a county was Harvey County with a total of 24 paid days for employees with one to nine years of seniority, 30 days for 10-24 years, and 36 days for 25+ years. This also included two days for personal time off per year.

The worst or fewest paid days off was Morris County, offering one-half day per month of sick leave and one-half day per month of vacation pay during the first two years of employment. That compensation increases to one day per month each for sick and vacation pay after two years, for a total benefit of 24 days per year.

The City of Marion was a close second to the best with 12 days of sick pay per year, and up to 20 days of vacation leave for 20+ years of service, for a total of 32 paid days per year.

The City of Hillsboro had the second lowest paid benefits schedule with 12 days of sick leave per year, and up to 15 days of vacation leave for 10+ years, for a total of 27 days.

Other benefits

Butler County was the only entity to provide longevity bonuses, beginning at three years of service.

Five of the nine entities provide health insurance for their employees. The others pay the majority of the premiums for their employees but employees do have to pay between 10 and 35 percent.

Morris County pays spouse and family insurance premiums with employees paying only out-of-pocket expenses. Dickinson County and the City of Marion pay 55 and 50 percent, respectively, for a spouse or family policy, while Harvey and McPherson counties and the City of Hillsboro pay smaller portions. Marion City Council has to approve the additional family premium.

Marion and Chase counties were the only counties who did not pay any portion of a spouse or family plan.

Most government entities provide life insurance policies for their employees with the exception of Dickinson and McPherson counties. Harvey County provides a $20,000 life insurance policy. Chase County contributes a flat fee toward a life insurance policy for those employees who choose to participate. Morris County has a sliding benefit amount, dependent on the age of the employee.