On Wednesday of this week, Human Resources will be meeting with the Board of Supervisors and the School Board to provide information on compensation and benefits for next year. In advance of that meeting, we wanted to share some thoughts with you.
We will tell both Boards that the pay increases for teachers and classified staff this year allowed us to meet our competitive market targets. Our research suggests that pay increases for the next fiscal year within our markets will be comparable to those we enacted this year. As always is the case, the Boards’ ultimate decision on compensation will be subject to local government and the school division financial conditions in 2016.
One area we closely are examining is salary compression as it affects our classified staff —the fact that we are having to bring in new employees at pay levels equal to or in some cases higher than those of existing employees of the same experience in the same job category. This has been caused by those years when there were very limited or no compensation increases as the result of the recession. We will be offering recommendations to the Boards in the next few months on how best to resolve this issue.
The biggest challenges many organizations are facing revolve around health plan expenses and we are no different. The cost of health care is continuing to rise across the country and by substantial percentages. We also are being affected by fees associated with the Affordable Care Act and by claims experiences the past two years that have exceeded recent historical averages.
In order to protect the quality of our health plans going forward and keep costs as low as possible, we need to make changes in our coverage plan options. As part of that process, we also will be reviewing the level of contributions our Boards make to these plans and addressing the impact on part-time employees, retirees and employees married to one another. We will be sharing more details with you over the next few months and no changes will be implemented before October of 2016.
Finally, we will tell both Boards that we are reviewing our employee leave policies in light of the state-mandated changes to the VRS system. The hybrid plan that became required for new employees entering the VRS system as of January of 2014 has caused inequities in the way disability benefits apply to employees in different plans. We will be offering a recommendation in the near future to eliminate these differences in as fair a way as possible for all employees.
Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing more information with you about these areas of concern and the changes we are proposing. Just as important, we will be providing opportunities for you to offer your views on proposed changes and to have your questions answered. Our goal is straight-forward: We want you to be as much a part of the decision process as possible and we want you to be a valued partner as we develop compensation and benefit plans that recognize the quality and importance of your dedicated service to the residents of Albemarle County.
Director of Human Resources
Albemarle County and Schools