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E MPLOYEE R ELATIONS. History of Staffing Volunteers and employees are the heart and blood of any conservation district. A necessary process for Conservation.

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Presentation on theme: "E MPLOYEE R ELATIONS. History of Staffing Volunteers and employees are the heart and blood of any conservation district. A necessary process for Conservation."— Presentation transcript:


2 History of Staffing Volunteers and employees are the heart and blood of any conservation district. A necessary process for Conservation District supervisors is becoming aware of their responsibilities as employers. They are responsible for a host of things such as position descriptions, salaries, morale and longevity of an employee’s position. A supervisor should understand their role in the Supervisor/Staff relationship.

3 Invaluable Help District staff positions usually attract individuals because of the mission of the district and not the dollars. For the scope or programs administered by districts, both monetary and career ladder futures are not industry equivalent. The large proportion of district staffs are extremely dedicated to the mission of conservation districts, as are their boards, and have created a new class of professional. Accomplishing the tasks set before them by their boards often involves flexible hours and for that matter a flexible life for district staff. The full-time representation of the conservation district within the community becomes a lifestyle for many that often requires night meetings, weekends and overnight travel. As a group or class of individuals, today’s conservation district professionals are invaluable to the successful functioning of their district boards and they wield as much influence over the future of conservation programs in America as any other single group.

4 Available Employment Resources We know that being an employer is not an easy job. Your local Conservation Specialist will be able to direct you to sources of information and basic guidelines. We have samples of the following documents either on the Online Conservation District Reference Manual or as part of a training: 1.Recruitment procedures 2.Individual development plans 3.Evaluation forms 4.Position descriptions 5.Work agreements (conditions of employment) 6.Recommended code of ethics and conduct 7.Written office policies and procedures 8.Written personnel policies

5 Hiring and Supervising Supervision is the process of directing and inspecting the performance of employees. Good supervision consists of the following as a minimum: Clear direction as to what is expected of the employee in regard to all aspects of the job, including personal conduct, interaction with the public and fellow workers, quantity and quality of work. Regular feedback on performance, indicating good work and also where improvement is needed. Demonstration of personal concern, fairness and respect for the employee. All administration of employees is the responsibility of the district board. One board member should be designated as the primary liaison between the board and district employees (“contact supervisor”) and is typically the Board President but may be his/her designee. It is important that the entire board and all employees know who their contact is.

6 Job Descriptions Like flossing your teeth, it is an important part of preventing problems A job description is valid to the extent that it accurately reflects job content. An out-of-date job description obviously is not valid. If the final written job description fails to accurately reflect the job, consider some of the possible consequences: Candidates without the proper qualifications may be referred for hiring or promotion; Employees may end up struggling to achieve unrealistic standards of performance. And this is only the tip of the iceberg! “Job descriptions? Sure, we have them. They’re in the bottom drawer of that file cabinet with the big stack of books in front of it.”

7 Job Descriptions – Thinking Points Identify what the District needs to achieve with the position. Identify what actual duties will be required to meet these needs. Identify what minimal skills, qualifications or experiences are needed to do these duties. Describe the job, not the person occupying the position. State minimal requirements for the job – education, experience, etc. Describe only major duties of the position Don’t describe procedures – only duties.

8 Job Descriptions – Thinking Points Keep descriptions short and in non-technical terms. Identify responsibilities as well as duties – i.e. “Responsible for preparing and submitting reports on a timely basis.” State any supervisory responsibilities. State who (position, not name) will supervise this position. State how, when and by whom (position, not name) the performance reviews will take place. Be honest in the description – you will not retain people if they are hired under misleading information, including being over- or under-challenged.

9 Sample Descriptions Sample job descriptions can be found in the Online Conservation District Reference Manual (Employee/Board Relations): District Clerk, District Secretary, District Manager, District Education Specialist, And Technicians (Salinity & DCT)

10 Steps in Hiring Process Evaluate the Needs of the District An in-depth guide to these steps can be found in the Employee Handbook on the CSCB website under Forms/Downloads Selection Process Job Announcement 1.Develop job description 2.Establish minimum qualifications 3.Develop budget 4.Design application and selection process 1.Prepare announcement 2.Set deadline 3.Advertise position 1.Select test/interview panel – arrange place and time for test/interview 2.Review District needs, job description and selection process with interviewers 3.Review applications and make first screen in accordance with selection criteria 4.Send out test/interview offers 5.Send out unsuccessful applicant offers (if candidate pool large enough at this point) 6.Undertake tests/interviews as possible – screening in accordance with selection criteria 7.Rank and identify first, second and third choice candidates 8.Check references (or do this later as condition of job offer)

11 Steps in the Hiring Process 1.Make job offer to candidate – verbally then in writing 2.Receive written confirmation of job acceptance 3.Notify unsuccessful applicants 4.Keep good candidate resumes on file for future possible job vacancies Evaluate the Needs of the District Job AnnouncementSelection ProcessFilling Vacancy

12 Steps in the Hiring Process – After Hiring Evaluate the Needs of the District Job AnnouncementSelection ProcessFilling Vacancy Paperwork and other steps Employers are required to collect and keep documents such as a W-4, 1099; I-9. If they will be driving as part of the job, a copy of a recent motor vehicle record should be requested. Some employers also require drug and/or alcohol testing as part of policy. For more information, consult with your local Conservation Specialist.

13 Employee Grievance Should a problem arise, it is important that any employee knows what the grievance process is and specifically who to contact. Having a stated grievance procedure before problems occur provides an avenue of communication for employees to deflect harbored resentments that could turn into behavioral problems at work. Therefore, it is important to include the grievance process and contact in the District’s personnel policy or employee handbook. More tips on Grievance Procedures are in the CSCB Employers Handbook, chapter 9 of the Online Conservation District Manual, and through your local Conservation Specialist.

14 Disciplinary Action Colorado is an “at-will” employment state, which means there is no obligation for either employer or employee to give notice or reason for terminating employment. However, a terminated employee can still bring charges of unfair dismissal against an employer with the potential of legal costs and penalties. A fair disciplinary procedure can help protect a District in such circumstance and also provide an objective framework should an uncomfortable personnel situation occur. More information is available in the Online Conservation District Reference Manual.

15 Applicable Employment Laws The following slides contain brief summaries of common employment laws. Colorado Employment Law can be found at:

16 Labor Laws 1 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. Districts are required to abide by FLSA and therefore it is recommended that someone on the Board be familiar with the basic requirements to ensure compliance. Overtime and Compensation (Comp) Time – The FLSA requires employers to pay overtime or allow comp time to full or part-time non-exempt employees (as defined by FLSA rules) after 40 hours of work in any individual work week (not averaged over more than one week). The rate must be at least 1.5 times the standard rate of pay/time. An employee cannot elect to waive these FLSA rights. Districts should be mindful of this in setting up employment agreements and in ensuring comp time is not built up to a level that is a crippling liability if an employee leaves – when accrued unused comp time must be paid out.

17 Labor Laws 2 Timekeeping – No specific format is required by FLSA, although records must be complete and accurate. Supervisors should monitor timekeeping to ensure there is agreement on work hours. It is good practice to have timesheets signed by supervisors. An Excel timesheet example template is located on the CSCB web site under “Forms and Downloads”. For more information about FLSA contact the Department of Labor at

18 Contractor or Employee? The decision on whether to hire someone as an independent contractor or not will depend on several factors – not the least of which is the nature of the work to be done. Employers cannot simply “decide” that the person will be an independent contractor. The IRS has criteria on which they base whether a person can indeed be classified as an independent contractor. If the employer misclassifies the employee, they may be held liable for the employment taxes that should have been paid. IRS Publication 15-A, “Employers Supplementary Tax Guide”, outlines how the IRS determines independent contractor status. As a general rule, most district managers have to be considered employees and not contractors. Please consult with your local Conservation Specialist to help make this determination. More information is also available in the Online Conservation District Reference Manual.

19 FMLA Federal Requirements: Family and Medical Leave Act of ‘93 Covered employers must grant eligible employees up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12 month period, for one or more of the following reasons: Birth and care of a newborn child of employee, placement with the employee of son or daughter for adoption or foster care To care for an immediate family member (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition Maintain health benefits during leave Restores an employee’s job after leave Sets requirements for notice and certification of the need for leave Protects employees who request or take leave; and includes certain employer record keeping laws For more information on the Family and Medical Leave Act visit:

20 Illegal Workers It is illegal to hire, recruit, or refer for a fee for work in the United States a person who is not authorized to work here. I-9 Employment Verification The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) supplies Form I- 9, Employment Eligibility Verification, which an employer must complete within three days of each employee’s hiring (and retain for three years). The employer must verify an individual’s identity and eligibility to work. So what do we do if they are not a US Citizen? Colorado law (C.R.S. 8-2-122) requires employers (within 20 days after hiring a new employee) to affirm the following three things: 1.Has examined his or her legal work status; 2.Had retained file copies of all such documents reviewed, and 3.Has not hired an unauthorized alien in knowing fashion.

21 State Law Shortcuts REFERENCES Colorado Revised Statutes 24-34-402 (Discriminatory or Unfair Employment Practices) Colorado Revised Statutes 24-34-402.5 (Off Duty Legal Activities) Colorado Revised Statutes 24-50.5-103 (Retaliation Prohibited) Colorado Revised Statutes 13-71-134 (Jury Service) WEBSITE LINKS (Colorado Government One Stop Existing Business Resource Toolbox) (Colorado Department of Labor and Employment) (Colorado Division of Labor) (Colorado Civil Rights Division) (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)

22 KEY POINTS Supervisors are responsible for overseeing all employees and employee processes. Most district managers do not qualify to be contractors (1099) under the labor laws of Colorado and the IRS. Employee records are permanent records of the District. Keep them in a locked cabinet in the District office.

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