Over the past year, the Utah Public Employees Association (UPEA) has seen a large membership growth in the Salt Lake Valley Local Government District. 60 new members have joined the district: 49 Salt Lake County employees; eight Tooele County employees, two Tooele City employees, and one Taylorsville City employee. The district’s total membership number now stands at 296.
Spotlight: Tooele County
UPEA’s involvement in Tooele County began in 2013, when the Tooele County Commission tried to make changes to post-retirement health insurance benefits. With the help of UPEA’s legal counsel from Kirton & McConkie, UPEA was able to stop the proposed policy changes and began to advocate for Tooele County employees. Recently, a Tooele County employee informed UPEA that the Tooele County Commission is considering changing the county’s leave policy to a Paid Time-Off (PTO) system. Over the past decade, several private entities have changed how their annual and sick-leave systems work in an effort to streamline their leave programs. Many companies moved to a PTO system that does not differentiate between sick and vacation leave. Employees are given a set number of hours a year that they may how they wish. If they do not get sick, they can use it all as vacation time. However, if they are sick frequently, PTO may end up being used for that purpose.
Such a system differs somewhat from the system Tooele County employees currently enjoy. Currently, each employee receives annual leave hours based on their years of service. Annual leave must be scheduled ahead of time and can be used for vacations, personal matters, etc. Sick leave can be used when an individual is ill or needs to go to a doctor’s appointment.
UPEA is opposed to any reduction in employee benefits. UPEA will take an active role in preserving Tooele County’s current leave practices and educating the Tooele County Commission.