The presentation for the work session on Thursday, Nov. 3 included spending $660,000 general fund money, freed up by the $59.4 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, on “employee transition expenses.”
This money is not for employees transitioning to other jobs but is money to pay employees because the city is switching from paying semi-monthly to bi-weekly.
There are plusses and minuses for both semi-monthly and bi-weekly pay schedules, but switching from one to the other is confusing, time consuming and can cause problems for employees – particularly employees living paycheck to paycheck.
The switch doesn’t change the salaries of any employees, but it does have an effect on the amount of their paychecks.
Under the bi-monthly pay schedule, employees are paid twice a month, 24 times a year. Under the semi-weekly pay schedule, employees are paid every other week or 26 times a year. Two months out of the year employees will receive three paychecks instead of two.
According to the Greensboro Human Resources Department “Biweekly Pay FAQ” page, under the current system full-time employees are paid for 86.67 hours during each pay period. Under the bi-weekly pay schedule full-time employees will be paid for 80 hours each pay period.
Since paychecks are smaller and the pay schedule is not based on the monthly cycle, both the smaller paychecks and the timing of those checks can create budget problems for employees who don’t have money left over at the end of the month.
The city staff is requesting that $660,000 of money freed up by ARP funds be allocated to pay for a “City maximum ten hour match for employees cashing in leave time as part of the transition assistance for bi-weekly payroll,” according to the work session presentation.
According to the FAQ page, “transition assistance does not have to be paid back to the City.”
The employee transition assistance plan is on the final page of the work session presentation along with $750,000 for the employee health insurance fund and this $1.4 million to benefit city employees was not discussed in any detail by the City Council during the work session.