WACD Survey on District Employee Benefits

Background

WACD staff determined a survey of member districts on the issue of non-salary benefits would be helpful to WACD as we review our current benefits package, since each member of the Board of Directors would likely only be familiar with their own district. An adequate cross-section of the Association was felt to be the 19 CDs with a WACD board member. Two additional districts (Kittitas County CD and Wahkiakum CD) responded to the survey after learning of the request. Out of the 21 districts surveyed, only King CD did not participate.

Since this information could be beneficial to WACD’s member-districts, we are making available the same collated results shared with WACD’s Finance Committee.

Respondent CDs: Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Foster Creek, Grant County, Kittitas County, Lewis, Lincoln County, North Yakima, Palouse, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Stevens County, Thurston, Underwood, Wahkiakum, Whatcom, and Whitman.

Question 1 – Does your CD offer medical insurance to district employees? If so, what percentage of the premium cost is the employee responsible for?

  • 9 districts (45%) cover 100% employee medical benefits.
  • 5 districts (25%) cover a fixed amount of employee medical (ranging from $500 to $640, with an average of $558)
  • 5 districts (25%) cover a percentage of employee medical (ranging from 60% to 95%, with an average of 82.5%)
  • 1 district (5%) does not offer employee medical benefits.

Question 2 – Does your district offer medical benefits to employee family members? If so, what percentage of the premium cost is the employee responsible for?

  • 9 districts (45%) offer access to benefits, but employees are responsible for all out-of-pocket costs.
  • 5 districts (25%) cover a percentage of the cost (ranging from 35 to 80 %, with an average of 60%)
  • 3 districts (15%) do not offer medical benefits to employee family members.
  • 2 districts (10%) cover 100% of medical benefits for employee dependents.

Question 3 – Are you willing to share your district’s policy on sick leave accrual?

  • 18 districts (94.7%) offer 8 hours of sick leave per month to full-time, permanent employees with various combinations of additional related benefits:
    • 8 of the 18 (44%) will pay out a percentage (from 25% to 50%) of remaining sick leave under certain circumstances (death, retirement, resignation with 2 weeks’ notice, etc.).
    • 8 of the 18 (44%) cap the accumulation of sick leave after a certain number of hours (from 240 to 780 hours)
    • 1 of the 18 (5.5%) increases accrual to 12 hours per month after five years of employment.
    • 1 of the 18 (5.5%) will cash sick leave hours accrued over their yearly allowed maximum.
  • 1 district (5.3%) offers 4 hours of sick leave per month to full-time, permanent employees.

Question 4 – Are you willing to share your district’s policy on vacation accrual?

  • 17 districts (94.4%) offer 8 hours of annual leave per month to full time, permanent employees with various combinations of additional related benefits:
    • 15 of the 17 (88%) increase their accrual rate based on years of district employment.
    • 4 of the 17 (23.5%) do not cap annual leave accrual.
    • 9 of the 17 (52.9%) offer a cash payout of annual leave upon separation from district.
    • 3 of the 17 (17.6%) offer a cash payout of annual leave over their allowed yearly maximum.
  • 1 district (5.6%) offers 4.48 hours of annual leave per month to full time, permanent employees.

Question 5 – Does your district participate in Social Security?

  • 15 districts (75%) participate in Social Security.
  • 5 districts (25%) participate in an alternative to Social Security for their employees.

Question 6 – What other non-wage benefits does your district offer to employees?

  • 8 of the 20 districts (40%) offer an employee retirement plan.
  • 5 districts (20%) offer life insurance to employees.
  • 3 districts (15%) offer transportation or travel benefits.
  • 3 districts (15%) offer work gear to employees.
  • 2 districts (10%) offer paid additional training options to employees.
  • 2 districts (10%) offer disability insurance to employees.
  • Additional benefits offered by individual districts surveyed: cell phone reimbursement, home internet reimbursement, exchange time, allow for telecommuting, or offer personal holidays.

Additional District Comments

(Below are two comments requested to be included in the final results, scrubbed of identifying district information).

  1. “I need to provide a perspective that has been part of the reasoning for our benefits for over 30 years.  First, an employee has a job at our district based upon the fact that we have “soft funding” for that position.  The funding cycle as you know can be one year, two years, or a cycle that starts in January, April, July, or October. Therefore, any position including mine is only guaranteed until the funding runs out.  Since our employment funding comes almost exclusively from grants and agreements, our board over the past 30 years has embedded our benefits within the “competitive” structure of the grant competition process.  In doing so the boards have historically challenged ALL staff to be engaged / responsible / and highly motivated.  This strategy has built a district of highly qualified and dedicated employees that run at an efficient level. Along with this our board has provided excellent benefits. Our district also practices the fact that they are the employer and staff are the employee. My predecessor and I assisted the board over the 30 years in developing benefits based upon other “similar” entities in an effort to their goal of good, long term employees that deliver district programs effectively and efficiently.”
  2. “Must look at ‘compensation package’. Our benefits for example may appear extravagant at first blush but wages are much lower. Our package not as competitive with others where the employee pays a portion of medical coverage.”

 

If you have questions about anything included in this survey, please contact Ryan Baye.