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Insurance waiting period reduced for school employees

Commissioners approved a recommendation from the Budget Committee that will allow part-time employees of the county school system to become eligible for retirement, health and life insurance benefits sooner.
Director of Schools Ron Dykes said employees who work a minimum of 25 hours per week in the system originally had to be employed for two years before enrolling for insurance.
The Local Education Group Health Insurance Plan recently asked the Board of Education to change the policy to a 12-month period to be in compliance with the Affordable Care Act, or opt out of the plan.
The change would affect bus drivers, cafeteria workers and support staff. “The big issue is we don’t have extra bus drivers, and the mechanics have to fill in as substitutes,” Dykes told the Budget Committee during its March 11 meeting. “Hopefully this will increase the pool.”
Commissioner Rick Storey asked if county government’s part-time workers were eligible for insurance, and Mayor Dan Eldridge said the minimum requirement is 30 hours per week. “The cutoff for bus drivers is 25 hours as set by the state in an effort to keep employees,” he said.
During the March 23 meeting of the full board, Commissioner Joe Grandy made a motion to support a 12-month waiting period for eligibility, which will go into effect with the next fiscal year beginning July 1. Commissioner Danny Edens seconded the motion, and the change was approved with a unanimous voice vote.