Dunkirk takes one last stab at employee handbook

There has been some back and forth on the Dunkirk Town Board about some policies in the employee handbook. This continued at a recent meeting.

Councilman Robert Pen-harlow asked the board to review several items in the handbook, starting with paying all employees working over 4 hours for a 30-minute lunch. He said by paying employees for the 30-minute lunch, where it used to be 20 minutes, equates to a pay raise.

Councilman Henry Walldorff countered that by not paying employees for lunch would then be a “pay cut.”

Councilman Juan Pagan said he believes the lunch break should remain at 20 minutes and showed the board a waiver application it can fill out for the Department of Labor.

At the last workshop the lunch time was increased to 30 minutes because that is what the DOL regulation requires for employees working six hours or more.

Walldorff said he did not want to make it where employees would only work seven-and-a-half hours per day and the board voted for a 20-minute paid lunch on the job for employees working four hours or more.

Penharlow also said he believed the town should not buy back vacation time and should stick with the old system of “use it or lose it.” Waldorff agreed with Penharlow on this point, saying vacation time is meant to be taken and it is a management problem if employees all want to use vacation in December. The board decided to go back to this practice.

Highway Superintendent Richard Butts noted that in his suggestions, he asked for carryover of vacation and personal time, which the board did not accept. However, he did not request two 20-minute breaks, which was previously stated at the board workshop.

The board will review the changes again at its upcoming workshop Tuesday, April 7 at 7 p.m. The next meeting will be held April 23.