Personnel Policy – June 2020

Organizational Structure & Expectations

CHAPTER ONE


Organizational Structure

POLICY 1.1
The Executive Committee also referred to as the Governing Board of the Bear River Association of Governments is responsible for setting policies for its staff members. The board employs the executive director, to whom it delegates responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the staff. The executive director organizes and manages the staff, using policies approved by the Governing Board.


Open Door

POLICY 1.2
All staff members are encouraged to provide input and suggestions concerning the overall operation and programs of the Bear River Association of Governments, following the proper channels of communication. Staff members should initially bring their comments to their immediate supervisor. In those cases where that may be inappropriate, staffers may approach their department managers or the executive director.
BRAG operates in an “open door” manner. All staff input is considered and can be presented without fear of personal recrimination on the staff member or his or her position. A staff grievance procedure is outlined in Chapter 5 of this policy.


Conflict of Interests

POLICY 1.3
BRAG expects the primary interest of staff members to be the people we serve. A conflict of interest occurs when the interests of a staff member or another outside party actually or potentially affect the organization in a negative way.
● OUTSIDE BUSINESS INTERESTS–BRAG staff may have outside business interests and outside employment so long as these do not interfere with job performance. Staff may not earn profit from outside employment or business interests which directly result from affiliation with BRAG. Work experience and training gained through BRAG employment can be used for outside business interests that do not compete with or jeopardize BRAG interests or activities.
● GIFTS, GRATUITIES–Staff members are not to accept gifts, gratuities, free trips, personal property or other items of value from an outside person or organization as an inducement to provide services. Items with a value in excess of $50 will not be accepted by staff for any reason.
● PERSONAL BELIEFS–The organization recognizes that its staff members may have a wide range of personal beliefs, values and commitments. These beliefs, values and commitments are a conflict of interest only when they prevent staffers from fulfilling their job responsibilities, if staff members attempt to use BRAG time and facilities for furthering them, or if staffers continue attempting to convince others of their personal beliefs after they have been asked to stop.


Speaking to the Media
POLICY 1.4
A staff member may not speak to the news media as an official or unofficial spokesperson of BRAG or its various programs without prior clearance from the executive director. All inquiries from the media should be referred to the executive director or to the appropriate department head if the executive director is not available. Press releases and legal notices will be submitted to the executive director for review and approval prior to being released.
Routine exchanges between the local media and department managers are encouraged as long as the executive director is fully informed and department manager statements are consistent with organizational policy.
This policy applies to all social media outlets. BRAG employees are expected to maintain confidentiality and professionalism at all times according to the Association’s Code of Ethics (Policy 1.8). Online interactions are held to the same standard as those carried out in person and are subject to the same disciplinary procedures.


Client Confidentiality
POLICY 1.5
BRAG Staff members will, to the best of their ability, ensure confidentiality and privacy in regard to history, records and discussions about the clients we serve. The very fact that an individual is served by this organization must be kept private or confidential. Disclosure can be made only under specified conditions, which are described below, for reasons relating to law enforcement and fulfillment of our mission. This means that staff shall not disclose any information about a client, including the fact that the person is or is not served by our organization to anyone outside of this organization unless authorized by the executive director or appropriate department heads. The principle of confidentiality must be maintained in all programs, departments, functions, and activities.
● Release-of-information forms will be explained and completed in the presence of the person about whom any information may be released, before it is released.
● If records are inspected by an outside agency, the individual(s) who inspect the records must be specifically authorized to do so by the executive director, or department head. The taking of notes, copying of records or removal of records is specifically prohibited in such cases.
● Staff will not discuss any individual’s record with unauthorized individuals, whether on or off duty.
● As a governmental entity, BRAG must comply with Utah’s Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA). See Policy 1.6.


Public Access to Records
POLICY 1.6
As a governmental entity, BRAG must comply with Utah’s Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA). This act requires that requests for records be in writing and include specific information about the requester and a reasonably specific description of the desired records.
Records are classified as Public unless they are one of four categories to which access may be exempted: Private, Controlled, Protected and Limited. Most of BRAG’s client records will fit into these exempted categories.
Upon receipt of a written record request, governmental entities must respond no later than 10 business days (5 days if determined to be in the public’s best interest). Extensions to these deadlines may be requested for cause.
BRAG staff should seek direction and approval from the executive director or appropriate department head prior to releasing any records.


Use of Computers/Internet
POLICY 1.7
I understand that the Association reserves the right to monitor, access, review, audit, copy, store, or delete any electronic communications, equipment, systems and network traffic for any purpose.
I will not use e-mail, internet and other Association resources to engage in any action that is offensive, threatening, discriminatory, slanderous, pornographic, obscene, harassing or illegal.
I will request approval from management prior to establishing any new software or hardware, third party connections, etc.
I understand that the content of all computers that belong to the Association is the property of the Association and therefore subject to review at any time.


Code of Ethics
POLICY 1.8
I as a staff member of the Bear River Association of Governments affirm that:
● I will not discriminate against or refuse professional services to anyone on the basis of race, color, creed, age, sex, religion, disability or nationality.
● I will not use my professional relationship to further my own interests.
● I will evidence a genuine interest in all persons served, and do hereby dedicate myself to their best interest and helping them help themselves.
● I will respect the privacy of persons served and hold in confidence all information obtained in the course of professional service.
● I will maintain confidentiality when storing or disposing of client records.
● I will maintain a professional attitude which upholds confidentiality towards individuals served, colleagues, applicants, and the organization.
● I, upon termination, will maintain client and co-worker confidentiality, and I will hold as confidential any information I obtained concerning the Association.
● I will respect the rights and views of my colleagues, and treat them with fairness, courtesy, and good faith.
● I will not exploit the trust of the public or my co-workers. I will make every effort to avoid relationships that could impair my professional judgment.
● I will not engage in or condone any form of harassment or discrimination.
● I will respect the confidences of my co-workers.
● When I replace a colleague or am replaced, I will act with consideration for the interest, character and reputation of the other professional.
● I will extend respect and cooperation to colleagues of all professions.
● I will not assume professional responsibility for the clients of a colleague without appropriate consultation with that colleague.
● If I see the client of a colleague during a temporary absence or emergency, I will serve that client with the same consideration afforded any client.
● If I have the responsibility for employing staff and evaluating staff performance, I will do so in a responsible, fair, considerate and equitable manner.
● If I know that a colleague has violated ethical standards, I will bring this to my colleague’s attention. If this fails, I will report the activity to my supervisor.
● I will accurately represent my education, training, experience and competencies as they relate to my profession.
● I will correct, when possible, misleading or inaccurate information and representations made by others concerning my qualifications or services.
● If serving as a supervisor, I will make certain that the qualifications of persons I supervise are honestly represented.
● I will abide by BRAG policies related to public statements.
● I have total commitment to provide the highest quality of service to those who seek my professional assistance.
● I will continually assess my personal strengths, limitations, biases and effectiveness.
● I will strive to become and remain proficient in professional practice and the performance of professional functions.
● I will act in accordance with standards of professional integrity.
● I will not advise on problems outside the bounds of my competence.
● I will seek assistance for any problem that impairs my performance.
● I understand that violation of this code may be grounds for disciplinary action.


Political Action
POLICY 1.9
The Federal Employees Political Activities Act of 1993 resulted in very significant changes to the Federal Hatch Act which was passed by Congress in 1939. Although we as BRAG employees are not federal employees, we have generally assumed we were subject to the Hatch Act because of the federal funds that pay much or all of our salaries.
Listed below are excerpts from the U.S. House of Representatives Report 103-16 that clarify what federal employees (and local government employees paid with federal funds) can and can’t do:
BASIC CONCEPT OF LEGISLATION
“H.R. 20 is grounded in the concept that Federal employees should be free to engage in political activities on their own time but should not engage in any political activity on the job. This means that Federal employees can manage campaigns, solicit contributions, work on phone banks, and even run for office while off the job and away from the workplace. The clear line between on-the-job and off-the-job activities results in a statute which is easy to understand and straightforward to enforce.”
SUMMARY OF THE BILL
“H.R. 20 states that it is the policy of Congress that Federal and postal employees should be encouraged to fully exercise their right to participate or not participate in the political processes of the Nation. The exercise of this right should be free and without fear of reprisal or penalty.
The bill contains a prohibition against on-the-job political activity. Federal employees cannot engage in any political activity while on duty, in a Federal facility, in the uniform of a Federal job, or while using any vehicle owned or leased by the Government. The rule against on-the-job political activity applies to most employees in Executive agencies and to employees in the competitive service not in the executive branch.
The bill also contains prohibitions against coercion. Federal employees cannot use official authority or influence to interfere with the result of an election or to intimidate any individual to vote or not to vote, to give or withhold a contribution, or to engage or not engage in any political activity. Federal employees may not use official information for any political purpose, unless the information is available to the public. Federal employees may not give a political contribution to a superior, or give, receive, or solicit a political contribution in a Government building. Federal employees may not solicit, accept, or receive a contribution from, or give a political contribution to, a person who has or is seeking a contract with the employee’s agency, is regulated by the agency, or has interests which may be affected by the performance of the employee’s duties. The various criminal prohibitions relating to elections and political activities contained in Chapter 29 of title 18, United States Code, are conformed.
Other than these restrictions, H.R. 20 provides that Federal employees, acting as private citizens, may engage in any legal political activity off the job. They may run for partisan political office without taking leave, as long as the campaigning does not interfere with the performance of their duties. An employee who requests leave without pay or annual leave for the purpose of running for office can only be denied such leave by agency management based on the exigencies of the public business.
The Special Counsel of the Office of Special Counsel is authorized to issue regulations and to enforce the administrative prohibitions concerning political activity. Actions brought by the Special Counsel would be brought under the general disciplinary action procedures of 5 U.S.C. 1215. The Merit Systems Protection Board could impose any penalty provided by that section. Possible penalties include fines, debarment from employment, removal, and reprimand.”


Travel
POLICY 1.10
A. Employees authorized to travel by private vehicle will be reimbursed at the same rate per mile as are employees of the State of Utah. The BRAG rate will automatically be adjusted consistent with changes in the State rate whenever they occur. Employees have the option, with approval from department heads, to use a rental car obtained through BRAG’s current rental contract, and be reimbursed for fuel only. Reimbursements are dependent upon submission of a signed itemized reimbursement claim approved by the department head or executive director.
B. Employees required to be away from their regular work stations on travel status will be reimbursed for meals at the same per diem rate as are employees of the State of Utah. Lodging and other actual, necessary, and reasonable expenses associated with the trip will be reimbursed based upon submission of receipts and a signed reimbursement claim.
C. Upon approval of the department head or executive director, employees may be reimbursed for meal expenses associated with work related business meetings they are required to attend. The reimbursement maximums allowed by State policy will apply.
D. Out-of-State travel more than 200 miles from Logan, Utah must be approved by the executive director and the appropriate program board or in cases of urgency by the BRAG representative on that Board. The Chairman of the Governing Board also has authority to approve out-of-state travel upon the recommendation of the executive director.
E. Known expenses such as conference registration fees or airline fares will be paid in advance through the use of BRAG’s purchase cards.
F. Air transportation is limited to main cabin seating with extra leg room as needed.
G. Records will be maintained for all travel expenses.
H. Reimbursement for private vehicle transportation on trips for which air travel could be used should not exceed the total cost of the least expensive available mode of air transportation.


Nondiscrimination
CHAPTER TWO
EEO & Affirmative Action
POLICY 2.1
It is the policy of the Bear River Association of Governments that no person shall, on the grounds of race, disability, color, creed, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, political affiliation or belief, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, be subjected to discrimination under, or be denied employment in connection with any program or activity administered by the Association.
The Bear River Association of Governments is committed to the concept of equal employment opportunity and will make every effort to insure all qualified persons the right to maximum participation in the mainstream of its employment system. It is the goal of the Bear River Association of Governments that all matters related to recruiting, hiring and selection, training, compensation, benefits, promotion, transfer, lay-offs, recall from lay-offs, demotion, terminations, working conditions, educational and training opportunities and all treatment on the job be free of discriminatory practices. This Association is committed to equal opportunity for all applicants and staffers in personnel matters including recruitment and hiring, benefits, training, promotion, compensation, transfer and layoff or termination. We strive for a staff that reflects diversity.
We will attempt to achieve and maintain a diverse work force. These steps may include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Pursuing our affirmative action program along with regular review by the Governing Board.
2. Ensuring that this BRAG policy regarding equal employment opportunity is communicated to all staff.
3. Ensuring that hiring, promotion and salary administration practices are fair and consistent with the policy of the Association.
4. Reporting to the Governing Board on all activities and efforts to implement BRAG’s policy of equal employment opportunities.
5. To the extent that our staff is not diverse, we will make special recruitment efforts as part of this plan.
Each supervisor and member of the management staff must provide equal opportunity for all staffers with regard to work assignments, training, transfer, advancement, and other conditions and privileges of employment, and work to assure a continuation of this policy of equal employment opportunity.


ADA Compliance
POLICY 2.2
BRAG welcomes applications from people with disabilities and does not discriminate against them in any way. This organization complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 by:
● Considering all applicants with disabilities for employment using the same criteria as are used for the employment of persons without disabilities.
● Considering staff members with disabilities for promotion using the same criteria that are used for the promotion of staff members without disabilities.
● Taking steps to make its facilities barrier-free and service accessible according to appropriate federal and state statutes.
● Making scheduling and other adjustments to reasonably accommodate staffers and clients with disabilities.
● Educating staff to the fact that individuals with disabilities are employed by the Association and should not be discriminated against.
● Posting notices explaining the provisions of ADA and staff rights under the law.
● Provide appropriate and legal process for employees or applicants to declare a disability and to request reasonable accommodations in the performance of job activities.


Sexual Harassment
POLICY 2.3
A. General Policy
It is the Policy of the Bear River Association of Governments (BRAG) that:
1. The giving or withholding of tangible job benefits based on the granting of sexual favors (Quid Pro Quo) and any behavior or conduct of a sexual or gender-based nature which is demeaning, ridiculing or derisive and results in a hostile abusive or unwelcome work environment constitutes sexual harassment.
2. Unlawful discrimination/harassment of co-workers of any type, on or off duty, based on sex/gender, subtle or otherwise, shall not be tolerated and violators will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
3. Retaliation or reprisals are prohibited against any employee who opposes a forbidden practice, has filed a charge, testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigative proceeding or hearing under this policy.
4. False or bad faith claims regarding sexual or gender harassment shall result in disciplinary action against the accuser.
5. An employee accused of sexual harassment and facing disciplinary action shall be entitled to receive notice of charges, the evidence to be used against him or her, and an opportunity to respond before any disciplinary action may be taken.
6. Records and proceedings of sexual harassment claims, investigations, or resolutions are confidential and shall be maintained separate and apart from the employee’s personnel file.
7. All employees, supervisors and management personnel shall receive training on the sexual/gender harassment policy and grievances procedures during orientation and in-service training.
B. Prohibited Conduct
1. Any deliberate, unwanted, or unwelcome behavior of a sex/gender based nature, whether verbal, non-verbal, or physical is prohibited.
2. There are two major categories of sexual/gender harassment:
a. quid pro quo- the granting or conditioning of tangible job benefits for the granting of sexual favors; and
b. creating a hostile or unwelcome work environment. Creation of a hostile work environment can occur through any or all of the following general means:
1) Level One: Sex Role Stereotyping
a) Assignments made or denied solely on the traditional historic perceptions regarding the types of jobs that specific gender may/should perform.
b) Comments or written material reinforcing traditional historic perceptions regarding gender.
2) Level Two: Gender Harassment/Discrimination
a) Intentional or unintentional behavior/conduct of a visual or verbal nature directed at a specific gender which is demeaning, ridiculing or derisive of that gender.
b) Creating an environment that demonstrates a demeaning, ridiculing or derisive attitude toward a specific gender.
3) Level Three: Targeted or Individual Harassment
a) Intentional behavior predicated on gender or expressing sexuality which is directed at a specific group or individual.
b) Offensive conduct may be verbal, visual or physical and includes unwanted physical touching of a noncriminal nature.
4) Level Four: Criminal Touching
a) The intentional unwanted touching of the breasts, buttocks, or genitals of another.
b) Forcible sexual abuse.
C. Remedial Action
1. Any employee who is being sexual harassed or who has personal knowledge of clearly offensive conduct may:
a. Address the issue either through the formal or informal processes described below.
2. Informal Action
a. Employees who are experiencing an unwelcome or hostile work environment at levels 1-3 as described above may, if they so desire, choose to address that unwelcome behavior/conduct informally by notifying the individual responsible that the behavior is unwelcome and that
future similar behavior will result in a formal complaint. Employees experiencing sexual harassment at this level are not required to use the informal process and may file a formal complaint if they so desire.
b. This notification may be
1) orally – in person;
2) in writing – signed or unsigned;
3) through a supervisor – either orally or in writing. The victim may:
a) ask the supervisor for assistance in determining what to say and how to approach the offending employee;
b) request the supervisor to accompany the victim when the victim gives the offending employee notice, accompanied by the victim;
c) ask the supervisor to give notice to the offending employee, accompanied by the victim;
d) ask the supervisor alone to provide notice to the offending employee.
3. Formal Action
a. Employees who are experiencing an unwelcome or hostile work environment which is clearly offensive or at Level 4 as described above, or who have been subjected to quid pro quo type sexual harassment, should address that unwelcome behavior/conduct through the formal remedial process.
b. Formal complaints should be in writing and specify:
1) The identity of the victim;
2) The identity of the offending employee;
3) The offensive behavior that the employee engaged in;
4) The frequency of the offensive behavior;
5) Damage the victim suffered as a result of the offensive behavior;
6) How the victim would like the matter settled – What the victim would like to see happen.
c. The victim will be allowed a reasonable amount of time during work to prepare a formal complaint.
d. The victim should submit formal written complaints to their immediate supervisor. If the immediate supervisor is the employee engaging in the offensive behavior, the formal complaint should be submitted to the next highest supervisor, the department head or the Chairman of BRAG Board of Directors.
D. Remedies
1. Employees found guilty of sexual harassment may face disciplinary action ranging from a letter of reprimand to termination based on all the circumstances of the case, as well as the offending employee’s work history.
E. Records
1. Information related to any sexual harassment complaint, proceeding, or resolution shall be maintained in separate and confidential sexual harassment complaint files. This information shall not be placed or maintained in any employee’s personnel file.
2. Information contained in the complaint files shall be released only with the written authorization of the victim and Executive Director.
3. Participants in any sexual/gender harassment proceeding/investigation shall treat all information related to that proceeding/investigation as confidential.
F. Victim Protection
1. Individual complaints, either verbal or written, are confidential.
2. Victims of alleged sexual harassment shall not be required to confront the accused outside of a formal proceeding.
3. The accused shall not contact the victim regarding the alleged harassment.
4. Retaliation or reprisals are prohibited against any employee who opposed a practice forbidden under this policy or who has filed a charge, testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing.
a. Any employee engaging in prohibited retaliatory activities shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
b. Retaliation is an additional and separate disciplinary offense.
c. Retaliation may consist, but is not limited to:
1) open hostility;
2) exclusion or ostracism;
3) special or more closely monitored attention to work performance;
4) assignment to demeaning not otherwise performed during the regular course of the employee’s duties.


Policy
POLICY 2.4
General
The organization’s Code of Ethics requires directors, supervisors, coordinators and employees to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. As employees and representatives of the organization, we must practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling our responsibilities and comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
Reporting Responsibility
It is the responsibility of all BRAG staff to comply with the Code of Ethics and to report violations or suspected violations in accordance with the Whistleblower Policy.
No Retaliation
No director, supervisor, coordinator or employee who in good faith reports a violation shall suffer harassment, retaliation, or adverse employment consequences. An employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment. This Whistleblower Policy is intended to encourage and enable employees and others to raise serious concerns within the organization prior to seeking resolution outside the organization.
Reporting Violations
As indicated in the organization’s open-door policy, employees can share their questions, concerns, suggestions or complaints with someone who can address them properly. In most cases, an employee’s supervisor is in the best position to address an area of concern. However, if you are not comfortable speaking with your supervisor or you are not satisfied with your supervisor’s response, you are encouraged to speak with anyone in management whom you are comfortable in approaching.
Supervisors and managers are required to report suspected violations to the Executive Director who has specific and exclusive responsibility to investigate all reported violations. For suspected fraud, or when you are not satisfied or are uncomfortable with the open-door policy, individuals should contact the Executive Director directly.
Executive Director
The Executive Director is responsible for investigating and resolving all reported complaints and allegations concerning violations at his/her discretion. The Executive Director is required to report to the Governing Board at least annually on compliance activity.
Accounting and Auditing Matters
The Governing Board shall address all reported concerns or complaints regarding accounting practices, internal controls or auditing. The Executive Director shall immediately notify the Governing Board of any such complaints and work with the Board until the matter is resolved.
Acting in Good Faith
Anyone filing a complaint concerning a violation or suspected violation must be acting in good faith and have grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates a violation. Any allegations that prove not to be substantiated and which prove to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense.
Confidentiality
Violations or suspected violations may be submitted on a confidential basis by the complainant or may be submitted anonymously. Reports of violations or suspected violations will be kept confidential to the best extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.
Handling of Reported Violations
The Executive Director will notify the sender and acknowledge receipt of the reported violation or suspected violation within five business days. All reports will be promptly investigated and appropriate corrective action will be taken as warranted by the investigation.


Employment Conditions & Provisions
CHAPTER THREE
Recruitment
POLICY 3.1
The Bear River Association of Governments fills job openings with qualified applicants. The following paragraphs summarize the major elements of our hiring policies.
● PREFERENCE FOR INTERNAL CANDIDATES. Job openings are filled by qualified persons from within this organization when possible. Preference is given to internal candidates over external candidates when both are equally qualified. However, internal candidates are not guaranteed the positions for which they apply.
As soon as a position vacancy occurs or before, if possible, job announcements shall be prepared by the department head and distributed to all other departments. Department Heads and supervisors shall ensure that the announcement is distributed and/or posted and that employees are aware of it. Applications will be accepted from current BRAG employees only during the five work days following the date of announcement.
Eligibility to participate in internal recruitment is limited to:
1. Regular full-time or part-time employees who currently occupy an officially approved and classified position within the BRAG employee classification scheme, regardless of longevity.
2. Temporary full-time or part-time employees with no less than six months longevity with BRAG.
3. Volunteers formally assigned to BRAG, either full-time or part-time with no less than nine months longevity in their BRAG assignment.
● EXTERNAL RECRUITMENT. Adequate publicity about a position opening not filled internally is essential to an effective equal employment opportunity/affirmative action program. Applications for all BRAG position vacancies recruited externally will be accepted for at least 10 work days.
The type and amount of advertising will vary with the nature of the position. High level professional positions will generally be advertised statewide through a major newspaper and by sending announcements to universities, employment agencies, and minority group organizations. Clerical and secretarial positions will generally be advertised through one or more local newspapers and Utah Job Service offices.
At minimum, notice of all regular position openings will be published in the newspaper with the widest circulation in the county where the position will be available. Also, all regular positions will be announced through Utah Job Service. In cases of urgency and with approval of the executive director, temporary positions can be filled after internal recruitment only.


Background Checks
POLICY 3.2
It is the policy of BRAG to perform pre-employment background checks. The purpose of performing these checks is to determine and or confirm, within appropriate legal and professional limits, the qualifications and suitability of a job candidate or anyone volunteering for the particular position for which the candidate is being considered. The policy will help ensure the safety of the public as well as a safe working environment at BRAG. The policy will help ensure that employment related decisions utilizing pre-employment background checks are made in accordance with applicable law.
BRAG will perform criminal background checks on all candidates for employment including identity and address related searches, various types of criminal (including sexual offender) background checks and driving record, education, prior employment and professional license verifications. Similar background checks will be performed for volunteers only when required by the funding source or program.
The results of a pre-employment background check are confidential and are to be shared only with select BRAG staff on a strict “need to know” basis.
1. Pre-employment background checks are required for all candidates for employment and for select volunteers as described above.
2. All candidates will be required to sign appropriate authorizations and consents prior to the performing of any pre-employment background checks.
3. Candidates that provide false or misleading information in their application and/or authorization may be eliminated from any further consideration. Candidates are expected to provide accurate and complete information and not to omit material information needed to make a decision.
4. Pre-employment background checks should normally be completed before a candidate is offered a position. All job offers should be conditioned upon satisfactory completion of the pre-employment checks.
5. Prior to taking any adverse action, appropriate pre-adverse and adverse action notices will be sent to the candidate pursuant to federal and any state laws together with a copy of the report.
6. All candidates shall be individually reviewed and decisions made with respect to employment based upon the totality of the candidate’s qualifications and the results of the pre-employment background checks.
7. In general, the relevance of a particular pre-employment background check to a candidate’s eligibility for employment is based upon the following factors:
a. The nature of the job for which the applicant is being considered.
b. The nature of the adverse or negative information; in the case of a criminal matter, the facts surrounding the matter are particularly relevant.
c. The age of any adverse or negative information; the age of the applicant at the time of the adverse incident in relation to the present may also be relevant.
8. Having adverse information, including a criminal history or conviction does not automatically preclude a candidate’s eligibility for employment.


Releasing Job References
POLICY 3.3
All requests for information about a current, retired or terminated staff member must be transferred to the executive director or appropriate department manager, who may disclose to prospective employers only the former staffer’s dates of employment, final title or position and job location. With the former staff members permission in writing, the executive director or supervisor may give an employment and salary history.
Information requested by a law enforcement agency will be provided if it is believed that an applicant, staff member or former staff member has engaged in illegal activities; if actions of the individual threaten physical injury to BRAG property, other staff or persons served; or to protect the legal interests of the Association. In such cases, any release of information will be made only if approved by the executive director.


Job Descriptions
POLICY 3.4
BRAG will maintain a written job description for all staff positions. In the event new paid positions are created through expansion or reorganization, written job descriptions will be prepared and then approved by the executive director prior to filling the position.
Job descriptions are to be as detailed and explicit as possible. However, staffers occasionally may be required to perform related duties not specified in the job description. In the event new major responsibilities or other significant changes occur, the job description must be rewritten to reflect these changes.
Written job descriptions play a key role in assuring the organization’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other federal and state employment laws.


Receipt of Policy Manual
POLICY 3.5
Staff members, upon receipt of their copy of the personnel policies manual affecting their employment or any addendum thereto, must sign a “Receipt of Policy Manual” form indicating they have read and understand the associations policies. Staffers also acknowledge their understanding that no part of this manual shall be construed as being an employment contract–either implied or expressed–between the staff member and BRAG.
This manual has been prepared for the information and guidance of staffers working at BRAG. It is intended to cover the procedures, rules and policies most often applied to day-to-day work activities. Some of the information will change from time to time since our policies are under constant review and are revised when appropriate. Such changes will be communicated to you in writing, in advance of their implementation. There is no guarantee of employment made to any staff member in this manual.


Licenses & Certification
POLICY 3.6
Staff members whose jobs require professional license or certification must present documentation of their license or certification prior to employment.
● Staffers pay the cost of obtaining their license or certification, or maintaining it in a current status.
● Copies of the license or certification, plus copies of all renewal or changes, must be provided by the staff member for inclusion in his or her personnel file.
● Staffers must notify their supervisor before the next scheduled workday of any changes in the status of their license or certification.


Probationary Period
POLICY 3.7
The probationary period is intended as a working test period and shall be regarded as an integral part of the examination process. It shall be utilized for the purpose of closely observing an employee’s work as a final determination of his/her suitability and qualification for the position. During this period of time, the supervisor shall observe the employee’s ability to perform the various duties and requirements of the position.
The department head or executive director may remove an employee at any time with or without notice and for any reason during the probationary period. During the probationary period, employees will not have access to the grievance procedures.
All new employees will be probationary up to six months. After successful completion of the probationary period, employment shall be considered “regular”.
New employees are eligible for a probationary increase in pay level, generally up to 3%, after their six-month probationary period conditional upon compliance with the Merit Pay Policy.


Exempt & Nonexempt Staff
POLICY 3.8
Employee classifications are determined by the Fair Labor Standards Act. They are “exempt” and “nonexempt.”
● “Exempt staffers” include those who are not subject to the overtime provisions defined by the FLSA.
● “Nonexempt staffers” must comply with the overtime pay provisions of the FLSA, regardless of individual titles or duties. Any staff member who does not meet the qualifications for exemption are included in the term “nonexempt.”
Following is a listing of BRAG Positions classified as exempt or nonexempt. A notation following the exempt positions shows the exempt category in which the position is included, executive, administrative or professional:
EXEMPT NON-EXEMPT
Executive Director – (Exec) AlI other positions as of the date
Controller/Personnel Director – (Admin) of this policy are considered
Housing Authority Director – (Exec) non-exempt.
Human Services Director – (Exec) Weatherization Director
Aging Services Director – (Exec)
Community & Economic Dev. Director – (Exec)
Housing Rehabilitation and Development Director – (Exec)


Compensatory Time & Overtime
POLICY 3.9
A. A work week is defined as beginning Sunday morning at 12:01 a.m. and ending the following Saturday at midnight. Regular office hours shall be 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday with a one hour meal period at mid-day.
Non-exempt employees (those covered by the minimum wage and overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act as amended) who are required to work more than 40 hours per week will be compensated for the overtime worked by one and one-half hours of paid time, for every overtime hour worked, subject to the following provisions:
1. Overtime worked must be authorized by signature of the department head or supervisor with time sheet.
2. Compensatory time taken off must be approved in advance by the department head or supervisor, who may deny or reschedule the time off to accommodate work load requirements.
3. No more than 60 hours of overtime may be worked in any one month.
4. No more than 90 hours of accrued compensatory time may be carried forward from one month to the next.
5. When 45 hours, or more, of compensatory time have been accrued, the department head may require the employee to take time off in order to reduce the accrued balance.
B. Exempt employees may not accrue compensatory time.
C. Employees eligible to accrue compensatory time will be paid for unused compensatory time upon termination. Compensatory time may not be used to extend employment in order to extend insurance coverage for the terminating employee.
D. When completion of work projects becomes very urgent, non-exempt workers may be compensated with pay at the rate of one and one-half times their regular hourly rate for overtime hours worked, subject to advance written approval to work overtime by their supervisor and executive director.


Personnel Records
POLICY 3.10
This is a description of BRAG’s record-keeping system in regard to personnel information. Each employee’s individual personnel file is regarded as confidential information and is treated as such. The only persons with access to the file shall be the employee’s immediate supervisor, department head, HR personnel and the executive director. Access to personnel files will be on a need-to-know basis.
Staff personnel files contain the following items:
● Application and resume
● Letters of appointment and acceptance
● Job description
● Copies of transcripts, diplomas, certificates and licenses
● Ongoing performance evaluations
● Any memoranda or documents relating to performance which are of current relevance
● Memoranda concerning unusual job changes or transfers
● Letters of commendation or other indications of exceptional performance
● Warning letters and records of all disciplinary actions
● Training records, including grades and notations of those who have completed or are presently taking in-house training programs
● Leave of absence information
● Signed declaration that employee has read and understands the BRAG personnel policies and agrees to adhere to them.
● Documentation required by state or private regulatory agencies
● All documentation to participate in the BRAG fringe benefits.
All personnel files are the property of BRAG. Employees may request to review their personal folder or to have copies made of its contents but may not remove the file from the personnel office. Department directors will be allowed like access to the files of employees whom they supervise.


Nepotism
POLICY 3.11
It is our policy to avoid bringing family relationships into the workplace whenever possible. However, on occasion more than one family member may work for this Association. The following guidelines will govern these situations:
1. No staffer will be permitted to hire a relative, which is defined as (step)father, (step)mother, husband, wife, (step)son, (step)daughter, grandson, granddaughter, first cousin, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law.
2. When related persons work for BRAG, one relative may not supervise another relative.
3. Related persons will not be involved in evaluating each other’s job performance or in making recommendations for salary adjustments, promotions or other budget decisions.


Work Schedules
POLICY 3.12
The official workweek of BRAG employees shall be forty (40) hours per week for non-exempt employees, not including meal periods. Employee’s should be at their desks ready for work, on time. Regular office hours are from 8 am – 5 pm. All staff members are entitled to a one hour lunch break and two 15-minute breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Staffers will be notified in writing of any changes to this schedule.
Exempt staffers may be required to work beyond the designated work schedule in order to adequately fulfill their duties.
Staffers finding they are unable to report to work on time or unable to report for a full day must inform their supervisor within 15 minutes of the beginning of their shift. Good and sufficient reason must be provided for any tardiness or absence.
Different work schedules may be allowed on an individual basis with approval of the department head and executive director.


Salary Classification
POLICY 3.13
A. Classification
All employees shall be classified into an officially adopted grade and shall be paid the monthly salaries or a commensurate hourly rate indicated. Salary ranges for each job title are commensurate with the nature of the position, taking into consideration the diversity and complexity of duties, the amount of responsibility and judgment exercised, location of the position within the organization chart and qualifications required.
B. Reclassification
Whenever changing circumstances make it advisable to adjust or revise any existing position, the effected department head shall submit to the executive director a revised job description proposal, and, if appropriate, a recommended classification change. Upon concurrence of the executive director, the proposal shall be submitted for approval to the Compensation Committee or Governing Board. Minor position reclassification affecting 4 positions or less can be approved by the Compensation Committee while reclassification impacting more than 4 positions must be approved by the Governing Board (Executive Committee).
C. Annual Reviews
Each staff member’s salary is reviewed annually. These reviews take into account the employee’s performance, comparisons between similar types of positions, and the organizations financial position.
D. Determination in Internal Recruitment
Employees who move from one job to another within BRAG through internal recruitment will have their new wage and grade determined by the affected department head, with concurrence of the executive director, based on qualifications and abilities to perform the new job, but subject to the following limits:
Any employee assigned to a new position will be in a probationary status, the same as any new, externally recruited employee, for the duration of 6 months.
E. Wage Determination for Rehired Employees
Former BRAG employees in good standing who are rehired to their former position will have their wage and grade determined by the affected department head, with concurrence of the executive director, based on qualifications and abilities to perform the new job.
Former employees rehired to different positions will normally start anew. However, if exceptional abilities or justifying circumstances warrant, the wage may be determined in accordance with Section D above governing Internal Recruitment.
F. Overfilling/Underfilling
Positions will not normally be “overfilled”. That is, new employees are to begin at the bottom of the grade scale because entry level pay is deemed proper compensation for the skills and abilities needed to perform the job. Any additional abilities and qualifications which an employee might possess are considered not needed and should not be paid for. However, exceptions may be made upon approval of the executive director in cases where additional abilities promise clear and particular benefit to the public service, or where labor market conditions make it impossible to hire needed abilities at entry level pay.
Underfilling a position will be done upon approval of the executive director only when the best qualified applicant selected for the position may not have the level of skills and experience required by the position job description or when budget constraints require it.


Performance Planning/Compensation
POLICY 3.14
BACKGROUND
During 1998 the BRAG Governing Board, a six-member subcommittee of the board referred to as the Salary Review Committee, the Executive Director, and Department Heads expended significant effort to update BRAG’s staff pay plan and merit pay policy.
Ken Embly from the University of Utah’s Center for Public Policy and Administration was retained to conduct a salary survey and develop a new performance pay system as well as to train department heads in its use. Jill Carter from Salt Lake City was retained through Ken Embly to develop a new pay structure and place each staff position within the structure.
Based on recommendations from the two consultants, a majority of BRAG’s Salary Review Committee agreed to base annual pay increases for staff on performance and not on cost-of-living increases. One of the Salary Review Committee members, Commissioner Royal Norman was very concerned that pay increases related only to performance would not mean that dedicated staff who are less visible would be overlooked. Cost of living adjustments can still be considered when necessary and appropriate.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT?
Management – The Performance Planning and Compensation Program should be supported by and under the direction of the Governing Board, Executive Director, members of the BRAG’s Management Team and the Compensation Committee. The Executive Director has been designated as the person responsible for the success of the Program.
Incumbent and the Supervisor – Each staff member or incumbent and their supervisor should be responsible to continuously develop and maintain the incumbent’s job description and performance plan.
The maintenance of job descriptions and the development of the performance plans are never-ending processes. Each incumbent and supervisor should take steps to ensure an accurate description of incumbent duties and responsibilities. Additionally, each incumbent and supervisor should frequently refer to and adjust the performance plan. It is important to ensure that the “pinpoints” are appropriate to meet current and new challenges and to ensure that the plan is aligned with the strategic objectives of both the Department and BRAG.
FORMAL REVIEW PROCESS
Prior to June 15 of each year, a formal, written review should be conducted by the supervisor. A formal review means that the incumbent and supervisor work together to document the previous year’s performance.
1. The incumbent should document actual performance achieved on the
performance planning tool then submit the tool to the supervisor for review. A formal review meeting should be scheduled.
2. No score or any type of overall rating appears on the performance plan.
3. For behavioral pinpoints, a five-point frequency scale will appear on the performance plan. The primary purpose of the frequency scale is to assist in the facilitation of the communication and feedback process between the incumbent and supervisor.
4. The scale appears as follows: 1 2 3 4 5 NA
Independently, the incumbent, then the supervisor, completes the scale according to their personal perspective where “1” means never and “5” means the incumbent always engages in this behavior. The incumbent (or supervisor) circles “NA” if the behavioral statement does not apply or is not appropriate. The “T” is circled when specific knowledge or skill training is needed for the incumbent to perform in a satisfactory manner.
Maintaining the Performance Planning Tool
As the administrator of the Job Description and Performance Planning Programs, BRAG’s Controller/Personnel Director, with full support of the management team, should ensure that each job description is accurate and that a performance plan for each incumbent is maintained.
5. Job descriptions should be reviewed for accuracy every two years.
6. Prior to the transfer of an employee and prior to the hire of a new
employee, the department head should review and update the existing job description and performance plan and ensure they are aligned with the new strategic objectives.
7. As time goes on, the incumbent and supervisor should periodically review the performance plan to ensure that the plan maintains alignment with the strategic objectives and ensure that the incumbent is achieving identified results.
Purpose of the Performance Planning Tool
The purpose of the performance planning tool is to provide an opportunity for the supervisor and job incumbent to agree on performance expectations. The purpose is to facilitate planning, encourage quality communication, and enable the supervisor to coach and otherwise be placed in the role of a leader. A secondary purpose is that of accounting for or documenting past performance.
Problem Behavior and/or Failure to Achieve Results
Problem behavior and/or failure to achieve results is immediately brought to the attention of the incumbent. (Problem behavior is behavior that negatively impacts the performance plan or is behavior that is violating BRAG policies, procedures, etc.)
If the problem behavior is not adjusted or desired results achieved, discipline may be warranted and the supervisor takes disciplinary action according to BRAG policies and procedures. Taking disciplinary action is a separate and distinct activity from the performance planning process.
Accounting for Past Performance
Prior to June 15 of each year, the incumbent completes the performance planning document by accounting for actual performance achieved during the agreed performance period. This activity includes the documentation needed to quantify certain results. The incumbent submits the completed document to the supervisor. The supervisor reviews the completed document and makes appropriate notes for discussion. Incumbent and supervisor meet to agree on documentation of past performance.
Planning Future Performance
Incumbent and supervisor are encouraged to continuously adjust the plan to ensure that performance expectations are aligned with the strategic objectives of BRAG. Many managers have reported that a meeting a week or every-other week to review the plan and acknowledge achievement helps to keep the plan aligned. At a minimum, this alignment process should occur as soon as possible after the formal planning process for BRAG is complete.

OUTLINE OF BRAG’S PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Job/Position
Descriptions
Performance Plans
Feedback or
Coaching
8. Mission
(Organization Strategic Plan)
9. Purpose
(Job Purpose)
• Individual
(Strategic Plan)
• Pinpoints
(Values, Results, and Behaviors)
10. Accountability
and Essential
Duties Statement
• Performance Plan (Based on
Accountability and
Essential Duties
Statement)
• Measures
(Results Achieved
and Behaviors
• Feedback (Info.)
11. Skills/Abilities
(Recruiting and
Selection)
• Pinpoints
(Values, Results, and Behaviors)
• Reinforce
(Positive or
Negative)
12. Compensable
Factors (Salary
Program)
• Measures
(Results Achieved and Behaviors)
• Evaluate
13. Compliance
(EEO, ADA, etc.)
• Rewards including recognition,
promotion,
awarding of
annual
performance pay,
and superior
achievement
awards
Compensation Committee
All recommendations for performance pay increase must be reviewed and approved by up to a six-member Compensation Committee which will be appointed each year by the BRAG Governing Board. The committee shall include the chairman and vice chairman of the BRAG Governing Board and up to four other Board members with each county having at least one representative.
Annual performance evaluations will be completed on all eligible employees by June 15 of each year in order to allow the Compensation Committee sufficient time to review recommended actions before they become effective on July 1 of each year.
The Compensation Committee will recommend to the Governing Board each year during the budget preparation process a percentage of the current year’s staff salaries to budget for performance pay increases for the following year. The Executive Director will meet with the committee to express his/her opinions of staff performance and available funding.
The Compensation Committee will also recommend to the Governing Board each year a percentage to move the grade ranges in BRAG’s Pay Plan consistent with local, state, and national trends, thereby keeping BRAG’s pay plan current and competitive. For example, based upon a review of compensation increases, the committee might choose to recommend a 3% increase in the pay plan which would move the minimum and maximum pay levels in each grade 3% higher. BRAG staff salaries would not change as a direct result of this increase.
Based upon an annual performance review, the Compensation Committee will make the final decision on any pay increases for the BRAG Executive Director.
Superior Achievement Awards
Superior Achievement Awards are one-time cash awards or bonuses to employees who deserve special recognition and reward for highly unusual and extraordinary achievements. Examples of such achievements might include developing an idea which results in significant cost savings to BRAG or to local governments. Another example might be an employee who through unusual and tremendous effort obtains substantial funding to address some important local needs. Also, highly significant accomplishments related to the performance plan may justify such awards.
Department directors can recommend such awards anytime during the year to
the Executive Director for amounts not to exceed $1000. The Compensation Committee has authority to make any final decision on such an award after careful review.
Appeals Process
Those employees who feel they have not received an accurate or fair evaluation may appeal to the Compensation Committee by notifying the BRAG Executive Director in writing within ten days after their evaluation is complete.
The BRAG Executive Director may appeal his/her compensation made by the Compensation Committee to the Governing Board in writing within ten days after the Compensation Committee decision is announced.
Budget
All performance pay increases are subject to budget constraints. If funds are not available, increases cannot be granted.
Eligibility for Advancement following Probationary Period
New employees are eligible for a probationary increase after their six-month probationary period conditional upon a satisfactory performance review and approval from the Compensation Committee Chairman.


Orientation
POLICY 3.15
New employees will undergo an orientation to acquaint them with BRAG’s policies and procedures, their jobs, and their internal and external working relationships. The orientation will consist of two parts:
● Orientation to the organization –The executive director generally will coordinate orientation to the organization describing compensation, benefits and our expectations of staff. As part of the orientation, the staffer will receive a copy of the Association’s personnel policies and then will be asked to sign a document stating he or she has received and understood the material contained therein.
● Orientation to the job–The new staff member’s immediate supervisor, as designated by the executive director, generally will orient the staffer to the job and the internal and external working relationships. The purpose of this orientation is to give staffers a level of success to aim for, to assist them in succeeding and to give feedback to them on performance.


Cost of Living Adjustment
POLICY 3.16
The Governing Board will review the need for a cost-of-living adjustment for BRAG employees each year usually at the May meeting when the annual budget is presented. Recommendations can be made by the executive director and/or the Compensation/Audit Committee. Such increases will generally become effective at the beginning of BRAG fiscal year which is July 1.


Advance Pay
POLICY 3.17

Pay checks are issued only on scheduled pay days. BRAG does not provide pay advances for any reason.


Pay Day
POLICY 3.18
There are currently two pay periods per month, the first one ending on the15th day and the second on the last day of the month. Pay checks will be distributed on the 5th and the 20th of each month. If these dates fall on a weekend or holiday, checks will be distributed the last prior working day.


Employment Status
POLICY 3.19
Staff categories as established by the Association are:
A. Regular Salaried: An individual employed to work a full basic work week of at least 30 hours with access to BRAG optional benefits.
B. Regular Hourly: An individual who works up to 40 hours per week and is paid on an hourly basis with no access to BRAG optional benefits.
C. Temporary: An individual employed for a specified, limited period of time, not to exceed one year, either on a full- or part-time basis with no access to BRAG optional benefits.
D. Probationary Period: Regular exempt and nonexempt staffers will be considered probationary employees during their first six months of employment.


Letter of Hire
POLICY 3.20
When it is decided which candidate will fill an open position, the executive director or department head will send that candidate a letter of hire, which states the specific position, starting date, beginning pay or salary, and the offer of employment.
The prospective staffer is asked to sign and return a letter, either accepting or declining the position.


Exit Interview
POLICY 3.21
This Association has a considerable investment in its employees. Therefore, it is of interest to the organization to evaluate the circumstances surrounding the separation of a staff member, whether voluntary or involuntary. Exploring an employee’s reasons for resigning, or the factors resulting in termination, enables the organization to better evaluate whether the work environment is conducive to staff satisfaction or whether changes can or should be made.
Guidelines:
Exit interviews should be conducted by the departing employee’s immediate supervisor in a private area during the staff member’s regular work hours on the last day of employment. If the staff member prefers, the interview may be conducted by the controller/personnel director or by the executive director.
The staffer has the option of requesting or declining to discuss reasons for the separation.
In conducting an exit interview, BRAG will use an exit interview checklist to provide structure for the discussion. The following items may be included on the exit interview survey form:
• equipment/key return
• reasons for the separation
• plans for the immediate future and contact information
• future job references
• verification of final pay and reimbursements
• COBRA information (continuing health insurance coverage)
• interest in re-employment
• staffer suggestions and comments


Succession Planning
POLICY 3.22
Recognizing that changes in staffing and management are inevitable, BRAG has established a succession plan to provide continuity and to avoid extended staffing and costly vacancies in key positions. BRAG’s succession plan is designed to identify and prepare candidates for upward mobility opportunities including management positions that become vacant due to retirement, resignation, death or new service delivery opportunities.
It is the policy and practice of BRAG to assess the staffing and leadership needs of the organization to ensure the selection of qualified staff members that are diverse and would serve well in accomplishing the organization’s missions and goals. Helping current staff members prepare for the future opportunities through internal cross-training and taking advantage of outside training and networking opportunities is important.
BRAG’s executive director is responsible for implementing the regional government organization’s succession plan. The plan will be discussed with staff at regular monthly staff meetings in order to identify possible upcoming vacancies.
Vacancies will be filled from within the organization where possible or in the event no viable candidate is available, on an “acting” basis while an external recruitment effort is conducted as outlined in BRAG Policy 3.1 – Recruitment.


Outside Volunteers
POLICY 3.23
It is the policy of BRAG to provide opportunities for volunteers and students so that they can gain practical and professional experience, or so that they may simply have an outlet for helping the people we serve.
To be accepted as volunteers, candidates must complete a Volunteer Application form, undergo a reference check, and be interviewed by a department head. If appropriate placements can be made, volunteers and students will be assigned to work under a supervisor, who will see that they adhere to a work schedule, are evaluated (students only), and observe the same rules and code of conduct as all regular staff members at this Association.
All volunteers and students serve at the discretion of the executive director, and/or department head who can terminate their relationship with the organization at any time for any reason.


Benefits Administration
CHAPTER FOUR
Insurance
POLICY 4.1
Health-Care and Dental Plan: A health-care and dental plan for benefit eligible employees and their dependents is available beginning at the time of employment, or during “open enrollment” periods each year. A more detailed description of coverage is provided for a new employee at time of employment. Application for coverage must be completed within 60 days from the date of hire. BRAG pays 80% of the cost of the Public Employee Health Plan Preferred Traditional Option 2 coverage and up to an equivalent cost for the less expensive Advantage and Summit Traditional Option 2 plans. Dental coverage for the employee is paid for by BRAG and additional coverage for dependents is available with the additional premium paid by the employee.
Regular salaried employees who work 30 hours or more a week are eligible for insurance on the first day of employment.
Dependents include your lawful spouse, your children and stepchildren until the age of 26 who are dependent on the employee for their support.
Before your coverage or that of your dependents becomes effective, you must complete the online enrollment process found on the provider’s website.
Life Insurance: All regular salaried employees who work 30 hours or more per week may enroll in basic term life insurance protection in the amount of $50,000 and have the option to increase this amount at the employee’s expense. Increases beyond the guaranteed issue of $200,000 require an evidence of insurability. BRAG pays 100% of the basic life insurance premium. The full premium for coverage in excess of $50,000 is paid by the employee.
Long-Term Disability: BRAG provides insurance for continuance of a portion of salary in case of severe illness or injury requiring absences from work for periods exceeding three months. This type of leave must be supported by a doctor’s statement indicating the type of illness or injury and the expected duration. Coverage under this plan is effective until age 65 or the employee qualifies for Utah State Retirement coverage.
Workers Compensation and Unemployment Insurance: All BRAG employees receive worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance coverage which are paid for by BRAG.


Retirement Benefits
POLICY 4.2
A. All salaried employees working 30 hours or more per week as of the date of hire are covered by the Utah State Retirement System. Temporary employees whose planned employment does not exceed six (6) months will not be enrolled.
B. All contributions to the Utah State Retirement System are made by BRAG on behalf of the employee.
The State Retirement System also offers a 401 (K) deferred savings program in which BRAG is enrolled:
Employer – pays 8% of gross salary for employee
Employee contributions are optional within contribution limits.
C. BRAG does not pay or withhold for social security benefits for those employees enrolled in the State Retirement Program. Those employees not eligible for the State Retirement program are covered under Social Security.


Holidays
POLICY 4.3
1. The following holidays will be observed by BRAG. Offices will be closed, except as otherwise provided by law. These days are subject to annual review by the Governing Board.
New Year’s Day Labor Day
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Columbus Day
Presidents Day Veterans Day
Memorial Day Thanksgiving Day
Independence Day Christmas Day
Pioneer Day
2. If any of the above fall on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as a holiday.
3. Any employee required to work on one of the above holidays will be given another day off in lieu of that day.
4. A holiday occurring during any period in which sick leave is granted will be computed as a paid holiday and not as sick leave.
5. All full-time regular salaried employees receive holiday pay.
6. Part-time regular salaried employees who normally work on the day on which a holiday falls will receive holiday pay for that portion of the day normally worked. Prorated based on the employees FTE.
7. Hourly employees will be paid only for the hours actually worked.
8. The Governing Board will be the final authority for interpretation of holiday pay questions.
9. After six (6) months of continuous employment, regular employees shall be entitled to take off one “personal preference day” per year at the employee’s option but subject to advance approval by the department head or supervisor. “Personal preference days” not used by the end of each calendar year will be lost.
10. Temporary employees do not receive holiday pay.


Annual Leave/Vacation
POLICY 4.4
The Association provides paid vacation for rest and relaxation which we believe is important for staffers’ physical and mental health. Staff members may not take vacation days until after the first full month of employment.
1. Each regular salaried employee shall accrue annual leave at the following rates:
a. One (1) month to ten (10) years of service — one (1) day per month or twelve (12) working days per year.
b. Ten (10) years to fifteen (15) years of service — one and one fourth
(1 1/4) days per month or fifteen (15) working days per year.
c. Fifteen years or more — one and one half (1- 1/2) days per month
or eighteen (18) days per year.
2. An employee who starts work between the first (1st) and the fifteenth (15th) of the month inclusive will accrue one day annual leave and one day sick leave for that month. An employee who starts work between the sixteenth (16th) and the last day of the month inclusive will accrue one-half day annual leave and one-half day sick leave for that month. Individual department heads will issue approval/disapproval on all annual leave requests.
3. Except for the first month of employment, annual leave time may be taken during the month from which it accrues, subject to all other provision of the personnel policy.
4. The maximum annual leave which can be accrued is thirty (30) days or 240 hours.
5. An employee who is separated from employment shall be compensated for all unused leave which he/she has accrued.
6. A holiday which falls during an employee’s annual leave shall be counted as a paid work day and not as annual leave.
7. Persons hired on a temporary or contract basis shall not accrue annual leave.
8. Part-time regular salaried employees shall receive annual leave on a pro-rata basis.
9. Compensation in lieu of annual leave will not be granted except in case of termination.
10. Annual leave shall not accrue during leave-without-pay. For the month of termination, accrual of annual leave will be reduced pro-rata according to actual time worked and rounded to the nearest whole hour.


Sick Leave
POLICY 4.5
Sick leave provides time off with pay for employees who are temporally disabled due to personal illness, injury, or incapacity; or for the illness, injury, or incapacity of the employee’s dependents. IRS definitions will be used to define dependency.
1. Each regular salaried employee shall accrue sick leave at the rate of one (1) day per month worked or twelve (12) days per year.
2. Sick leave shall accrue at the above rate with no limit as to the total number of days which may be accrued. An employee may begin to use this accrued leave after having completed one full calendar month of satisfactory service. An employee may, at any time during a given month, use the hours of sick leave which accrue from that month, subject to all other provisions of the personnel policy.
3. Employees off work due to illness will be carried on the payroll in a leave with pay status for time equal to but not to exceed the sick leave already accrued. Any absence for illness beyond the accrued sick leave will result in the employee being carried on the payroll on annual leave status until all accrued annual leave has expired. Afterward, the employee may be carried in a leave-without-pay status as outlined in the Family & Medical Leave Policy.
4. Each employee absent due to illness should notify his/her supervisor in the morning of the first day of absence by 8:15 a.m.
5. Employees will not be compensated for unused accrued sick leave upon termination.
6. For the month of termination or any month in which leave without pay is taken, accrual of sick leave will be reduced pro-rata and credited according to actual paid-time, and rounded to the nearest quarter hour. Accrual will continue during the times of paid leave.
7. Any application for sick leave which exceeds three (3) successive working days may require support by a medical statement or certificate or other acceptable evidence of illness or injury to support the absence. Abuse of sick leave may be considered grounds for dismissal.
8. Persons hired on an emergency, hourly, temporary or contract basis shall not accrue sick leave.
9. Part-time regular salaried employees shall receive sick leave on a pro-rata basis.
10. All unused hours of accumulated sick leave will be lost upon termination whether by lay-off or voluntary resignation.
11. Sick leave shall not accrue and cannot be used during periods of leave without pay.
12. Exception to the above must be approved by the BRAG Governing Board.


Bereavement Leave
POLICY 4.6
One (1) to three (3) days, or a pro-rata lesser amount for part-time salaried employees, at the discretion of the executive director or department head, may be allowed for a death in the immediate family of a regular staff member. Criteria for the amount of time off allowed include a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, the need for out-of-town travel and responsibility for handling funeral arrangements. The term “immediate family” includes the following: husband, wife, son, stepson, daughter, stepdaughter, mother, stepmother, father, stepfather, brother, stepbrother, sister and stepsister, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, grandmother, grandfather, aunt and uncle.
Any leave beyond three (3) days must be taken as annual/sick leave or leave-without-pay.


Military Leave
POLICY 4.7
1. Military leave without pay may be granted for a period of active service. Any employee leaving active military duty is authorized forty (40) days from the active duty release date in which to request reinstatement to his/her position or to a position with comparable status and compensation. Such reinstatement is dependent upon a position vacancy. If the employee
declines an offer for a position vacancy, his/her reinstatement rights may be canceled at the discretion of the executive director.
2. Eligible employees are entitled to military leave without loss of pay or loss of accrued vacation leave, not to exceed fifteen (15) working days per year, if ordered to annual training duty as a member of the National Guard or any armed forces reserve unit.
3. Upon the employee’s return from military leave, the employee may submit a claim to BRAG if the military pay during the period of leave, not to exceed fifteen (15) days per year, is less than the amount he/she would have been paid by BRAG. BRAG will pay the difference between the lower military pay and current BRAG pay during the military leave period.
4. Leave without pay may be granted to regular salaried full-time and part-time employees who enlist, are drafted, or are recalled to active service in the armed forces of the U.S. in accordance with the provisions of applicable federal and state law.
5. Employees entering the military service or serving as reservists or national guardsmen as provided in paragraph one above may return with all seniority, status, and pay they had at the time of departure, pursuant to the following conditions:
a. The leave of absence may not exceed four (4) years from date of entry (unless the employee is involuntarily retained).
b. Employee must have satisfactorily completed the period of active duty and furnish a certificate to that effect.
c. If, due to service connected disability or for some other reason, an employee is not qualified to perform all the duties of his/her former position he/she will be placed in the closest comparable available position for which he/she is qualified.
d. Application for reinstatement must be made within forty (40) days after release from active military service.
e. Employees who are either voluntary or involuntary members of reserve units of the military shall notify their supervisor at least four (4) weeks in advance and shall indicate in writing their intentions and anticipations with regard to participating in periods of active duty. Such written notification shall be made part of the individual employee’s personnel file.


Jury Duty & Subpoenaed Leave
POLICY 4.8
1. BRAG recognizes the obligation of employees to serve on juries or as court witnesses. When a regular salaried employee is summoned to serve on a jury or required by subpoena to appear as a witness, he/she shall be entitled to regular compensation. The fees received, not including travel reimbursement, for such duty, must be forfeited to BRAG.
2. Any regular salaried employee shall be granted leave of absence, if required by subpoena, to appear as a witness for court proceedings involving federal, state, or local government. Said employee shall be entitled to the difference between his/her regular compensation and the compensation or fee received as a witness.
3. Time absent by reasons of subpoena in private litigation shall be taken as annual leave or leave-without-pay.
4. Employees are expected to report to work before and after jury service, when possible, in order to give as much attention as possible to their regular duties.


Workers Compensation
POLICY 4.9
Staffers are protected under the state workers compensation law against loss of income due to injury or death that occurs during work activities. BRAG pays the entire cost of the Workers Compensation insurance premium. Staffers must report all job related accidents, injuries and illness immediately after experiencing symptoms. The insurance carrier will determine the benefits, if any, the staffer deserves.
● REPORTING–Any employees injured on the job will report the injury immediately to his or her supervisor, regardless of whether the injury is minor or of no apparent significance.
● INCIDENT REPORT–An Incident Report will be completed promptly by the supervisor to ensure documentation and expedite compensation. Failure of a staff member to document job-related injuries may result in disciplinary action, including termination. Reporting job-related injuries protects both the organization and the employee.


Family & Medical Leave
POLICY 4.10
The purpose of this policy is to provide leaves of absence to eligible staff members in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.
This policy applies to all regular staff members who have worked at BRAG for at least one year at the time the leave is requested.
Eligible staff may be granted up to 12 weeks unpaid leave in any 12-month period…
● For the birth of a staff member’s child, or upon placement of a child with the staff member for adoption or foster care. This leave will normally be taken in one block of time unless special arrangements for “intermittent” or “reduced work schedule” are approved by the executive director.
● When the staff member is needed to care for a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health condition.
● When the staff member is unable to perform his or her functions due to a serious health condition.
Applicable accrued leave benefits must be substituted for all or part of any otherwise unpaid FMLA leave. The total of paid and unpaid leave under this policy is not to exceed 12 weeks.
For purposes of this policy, the following definitions will serve:
CHILD: Anyone under 18 years who is the staff member’s biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild, legal ward or an adult legally dependent child. This may include a child for whom the staffer has day-to-day responsibility.
PARENT: Biological, foster or adoptive parents, stepparents, legal guardians, or any individual who stood in place of parents for a staff member when the staff member was a child.
SPOUSE: A husband or wife as defined by applicable state law.
SERIOUS HEALTH CONDITION: An illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care, or any period of incapacity requiring absence from school or work of more than three calendar days and involving continuing treatment by a health care provider.
Procedure for Requesting Family or Medical Leave
1. A request for FMLA Leave of Absence form must be completed by a staff member requesting leave, and submitted to their department head 30 days before commencement date. If 30 day advance notice is not possible, FMLA leave must be given as soon as possible.
2. When the leave is due to a staff member or family member’s serious health condition, the staff member must provide a Certification of Serious Health Condition form completed by the health care provider.
3. Recertification of the serious health condition may be required during leave.
4. While on leave, staffers are required to contact their department head every 15 days to advise BRAG of any change or improvement in condition.
5. When the leave is for planned medical treatment, the staff member must attempt to schedule the treatment so as not to disrupt staff operations.
Status of benefits During Leave
During leave under this policy, the staff member is responsible for any insurance payments normally deducted through payroll. Prior to leave, the Controller/Personnel Manager will explain the payment obligations to the staff member.
If a staff member fails to return to work at the end of the leave, the Association may recover from the staff member the cost of any payments made to maintain the staff member’s coverage, unless the failure to return was beyond his or her control.
A staff member on leave will not lose any employment benefits accrued prior to leave, unless a benefit is used by the staff member during the leave, such as accrued annual or sick leave. Sick and annual leave and seniority does not accrue while a staff member is on family and medical leave.
Return to Work
Before being permitted to return to work from a leave for the staff member’s own serious health condition, the staff member will be required to provide certification from his or her health care provider that he or she is able to resume work.
Upon return from leave, most staff members will be reinstated in the following priority of position reassignment: if available, the same position held before leave, or
reassignment to an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits and other conditions of employment.
If possible, staff members on leave should notify their supervisor at least two weeks before the end of the leave to inform BRAG of availability to return to work.
Failure to return from leave, or failure to contact a department head or the executive director on the scheduled date of return, may be considered voluntary termination of employment.


Paid Administrative or Emergency Leave
POLICY 4.11
Paid administrative or emergency leave is granted by the Executive Director or designee in the Director’s absence. Administrative or emergency leave may be granted to all regular employees. During States of Emergency, or at other times when the Utah Retirement System waives the requirements of Utah Code 49-12-102, paid administrative or emergency leave will be available to all current employees. Administrative or emergency leave is recorded as “Other Leave” on the BRAG time sheet.
1. Administrative or emergency leave will not be charged against the employee’s annual, sick or compensatory leave balances.
2. Employees are eligible to take administrative or emergency leave only if they are actually working at the time administrative or emergency leave is granted and for the specific purpose such leave is granted, if any. Employees who are already off work or on any other type of leave will not be eligible for administrative or emergency leave. In addition, administrative or emergency leave may only be claimed and taken at the specific time granted even if an employee must remain working in fulfillment of job responsibilities.
3. Administrative or emergency leave may be granted under, but not limited to, the following conditions:
a. Hazardous conditions, including foul and dangerous weather conditions, where it appears that travel may be treacherous or unsafe.
b. During declared States of Emergency or Disaster on either the local, state or federal level.
c. When supply chain disruptions make it impractical to compete assigned work.
4. The Executive Director may impose administrative leave pending the investigation of employee misconduct as dictated in section 5.4. Administrative leave under this section is not a disciplinary measure.


Performance
& Discipline
CHAPTER FIVE
Disciplinary Philosophy
POLICY 5.1
The Bear River Association of Governments uses progressive discipline to ensure staff compliance with performance standards, ethics and conduct. Except in cases of repeated willful or flagrant violations of these standards, a supervisor will not resort to formal disciplinary measures until informal attempts to correct the problem have failed. If a supervisor finds it necessary to use formal disciplinary measures, it is intended that the discipline be administered fairly, without prejudice and only for cause.
Disciplinary actions are of several levels, including oral and written warnings, disciplinary probation, suspension and termination. The frequency and/or severity of misconduct determines which level of disciplinary action is required.
Progressive discipline is not required for all offenses. BRAG reserves the right to terminate staffers for commission of serious infractions, regardless of progressive discipline guidelines or counseling.


Warnings
POLICY 5.2
Documentation of both oral and written warnings will be signed by the supervisor and the staff member and kept in the staff members personnel file. If an employee refuses to sign, the supervisor should have a witness sign that a copy was given to the employee. The staff member’s signature indicates receipt of the document, but not necessarily his or her agreement with it. This document should include identification of the date, violation, indication of necessary improvement and information concerning further disciplinary action that could result from failure to show improvement.


Disciplinary Probation
POLICY 5.3
A staffer may be placed on disciplinary probation by the supervisor in order to allow the staffer to show improvement on the problem(s) specified at the time of probation.
The disciplinary probation period begins when the supervisor provides the staffer with a written–and signed– document which:
1. Identifies the problem(s);
2. Indicates the necessary improvement;
3. Specifies length of probation period;
4. Informs the staffer of further disciplinary action which could result from
failure to show satisfactory improvement within the specified probation period.


Suspension
POLICY 5.4
The Executive Director may impose suspension if the conduct of an employee, in the sole discretion of the Executive Director, endangers the peace and safety of others, or poses a threat to the public interest.
The executive director may suspend a staffer for disciplinary reasons without pay. A staffer who is suspended will be given written notice of the reasons for the action, and a copy will be made a part of the staffer’s personnel record.
Staffers can be suspended for incidents that merit termination if the staffer’s participation is suspected, but unclear. Under these circumstances, the executive director can suspend the staffer with pay while an investigation is conducted.
The period of suspension shall not be longer than is reasonably necessary to complete the investigation into the alleged misconduct.
Supervisors will meet formally with suspended staffers upon their return to work, and define clearly and specifically the improvements in job-related behaviors required as a condition of the staffer’s continued employment. This meeting will be documented and records of it submitted to the executive director. A copy of the suspension records will also be added to the staffer’s personnel file.


Dismissal
POLICY 5.5
Dismissal occurs when other disciplinary action has failed to achieve improvement or when the staffer commits a serious offense. Prior to dismissal, the executive director should assure that the staffer has been properly counseled in writing concerning any deficiencies in performance, given sufficient time to correct these deficiencies, and informed that failure to correct them may result in termination.
However, some offenses warrant immediate dismissal. These include but are not limited to:
1. Theft–including, but not limited to, the removal of BRAG property or the property of another staffer from BRAG premises without prior authorization.
2. Drug/Alcohol–possession, use, sale, purchase or distribution on BRAG property of alcohol or any illegal drugs or illegally possessed drugs. Also: reporting to work after having ingested alcohol or illegal drugs or illegally possessed drugs, in a condition that adversely affects the staffer’s ability to safely and effectively perform his or her job functions, or which would imperil the safety of other staff. (Also see Drug-Free Workplace Policy)
3. Falsifying or altering BRAG records.
4. Sabotaging or willfully damaging BRAG equipment or the property of other
staff members.
5. Walking off the job without supervisory permission.
6. Insubordination involving, but not limited to, defaming, assaulting or threatening to assault a supervisor, and refusing to carry out the order of a supervisor where personal safety is not a problem.
7. Absence for three consecutive working days without proper notice, in which event the offending staffer will be deemed to have quit voluntarily.


Drug-Free Workplace
POLICY 5.6
The purpose of this policy is to insure a drug-free workplace in accordance with federal regulation and to notify all employees of Bear River Association of Governments (BRAG) that unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in BRAG’s workplace. This policy specifies the actions that will be taken against employees for violation of such prohibitions.
A drug-free awareness program utilizing periodic staff meetings and employee orientation is established by this policy to inform employees about the following:
1. The dangers of drug abuse in the workplace;
2. BRAG’s policy of maintaining a drug-free workplace;
3. Any available drug counseling and rehabilitation programs; and
4. The penalties that may be imposed upon employees for drug abuse violations occurring in the workplace.
Any employee convicted of any criminal drug statute violation occurring in the workplace must notify the BRAG Executive Director no later than five days after such conviction.
BRAG will notify the proper federal agencies, including the HUD Denver Regional Office within ten days after receiving notice in accordance with this policy or otherwise receiving actual notice of such conviction.
One of the following actions will be taken by the BRAG Executive Director and/or Chairman within 30 days of receiving notice from an employee who is so convicted:
1. Taking appropriate personnel action against such an employee, up to and including termination of employment; or
2. Requiring such employee to participate satisfactorily in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved for such purpose by a Federal, State, or local health, law enforcement, or other appropriate agency.
In order to promote and maintain a drug-free workplace, BRAG reserves the right to require drug testing of any employee as is allowed by law. Such testing may be at random through established procedures that do not unfairly target any employee or group of employees, or for any of the following events:
1. Reasonable suspicion,
2. Transfer or hire to a highly sensitive position,
3. Critical incident,
4. Post-accident,
5. Return to duty, and
6. Follow up.


Layoffs
POLICY 5.7
The Association intends to minimize the negative impact on current staffers if a reduction in the work force becomes necessary. However, from time to time, cutbacks or reductions may be unavoidable due to forces beyond its control. In some cases, a program may have to be reduced in size or terminated entirely if funds for its operation are no longer available or if reorganization becomes necessary. If this type of cutback must occur, BRAG will reduce staff progressively, using the following steps:
● Voluntary reductions in the work force. This includes staff who take early retirement, leaves of absence or reduction in hours.
● Attrition
● Part-time positions may be terminated prior to full-time positions.
● An attempt will be made to transfer staffers from terminated positions to other vacant positions within the organization if the staffer can meet the qualifications of the position and has satisfactory performance evaluations.
● In determining which regular staff are laid off, the executive director may implement a seniority system giving consideration to factors such as, but not limited to, the following:
a. Special training
b. Performance evaluations
c. Job specialty and responsibilities
d. Supervisor input
The executive director will provide notice to staffers affected and inform them of the beginning date of layoff. The staff member will be paid for unused accrued vacation. Any staffer who believes he or she is treated unfairly during layoff procedures may file a complaint using the grievance procedure outlined in this section.


Resignation
POLICY 5.8
Staffers who voluntarily resign from their positions at BRAG are requested to give at least two weeks notice in writing of their intent to resign. At the option of the executive director, such staffers may be given two weeks pay and may be required to discontinue work immediately, in lieu of working during the two-week notice period. Such circumstances will not extend insurance coverages beyond the last day actually worked.


Final Pay
POLICY 5.9
Staffers who leave the service of BRAG for any reason shall receive all pay which may be due them, with the following qualifications:
1. Regular staffers will be paid for all unused vacation days up to the maximum accruals allowed.
2. Regular staffers who are dismissed after committing a criminal offense against the Association, or for other gross violations of BRAG policies as determined by the executive director, may not receive vacation payout.
3. Regular staffers who give fewer than 10 working days notice of resignation shall forfeit their accrued vacation unless mutual agreement is reached between the executive director and the staffer.
4. Separation date for all staffers is the last day of actual work or approved leave. Final pay received by a staffer will not be construed to extend his or her employment with BRAG beyond the separation date.
5. Failure to return BRAG issued equipment, keys, materials, or other items will result in delay of final pay until all BRAG property is returned. If these items are damaged or missing, their value may be deducted from the staff member’s final check.
6. Staffers will be advised of their rights under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA). This act entitles staffers and their dependents to continue their coverage under the Association’s health plan at their own expense, but at group rates–for up to 18 months after they leave. Information will be sent by the Association’s COBRA administrator.


Grievance Procedure
POLICY 5.10
Any staff member who has a complaint concerning disciplinary action, termination, demotion, denial of promotion or merit increase, layoff or discrimination based on a category–i.e., race, age, disability–recognized by federal and state civil rights laws has the right to file a grievance according to procedures outlined in this policy.
No staff member will be discriminated against, harassed, intimidated, or suffer any reprisal as a result of filing a legitimate grievance or participating in the investigation of a grievance. If a staffer feels that he or she is being subjected to any of the above, that staffer has the right to appeal using the steps outlined in this policy.
First, staff members should attempt to resolve the problem informally with their immediate supervisor as soon as possible. If a solution cannot be reached, the department director should be informed and involved. If a solution still cannot be reached, the staff member may present a formal grievance, in writing, to the executive director.
The executive director can attempt to resolve the grievance by him/herself or if appropriate may choose to involve staff members, advisory council members, governing board members or others. If the complainant is still not satisfied, the executive director will submit the grievance to the Chairman of the Governing Board who will empanel the Chair, Vice Chair and Governing Board representative from the third county to hear the complaint. This “Grievance Review Committee” will not hear or consider any employee grievance that has not been considered by the three outlined staff levels of review. Upon reaching a decision, the Grievance Review Committee will notify the complainant and the executive director in writing.
The grievance review committee may provide direction to the executive director as appropriate and/or make recommendations to the full Governing Board only if necessary.
The levels of review in the order they must be followed are:
1. immediate supervisor
2. department director
3. executive director
4. Governing Board Chairman and Grievance Review Committee
All complaints will be handled in a timely manner. As a goal, BRAG will attempt to resolve a complaint within 20 working days from the time of its initiation. If an extension of the time limit becomes necessary, all involved parties will be notified.


Abandonment of Job
POLICY 5.11
Staffers who miss work for three consecutive days without notifying their supervisor, or have three consecutive days of unexcused absences, are considered to have resigned their jobs.

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