The Starke County Sheriff’s Office can keep a better budgetary handle on overtime for sheriff’s deputies, investigators and correctional officers thanks to action this week by the county commissioners. They adopted an ordinance to modify their pay periods for the purpose of overtime to 48 hours instead of 40. County attorney Marty Lucas says federal law provides a partial overtime exemption for uniformed, plainclothes and corrections officers because of the way their hours are typically structured.
They work four, 12-hour days and are off for another 12 hours, which means overtime during one 14-day pay period, followed by another that is significantly less than that threshold. Lucas says federal law allows employees to work up to 171 hours prior to incurring overtime during an aggregate 28 day period.
The policy also specifies how time is paid out. Instead of paying time-and-a-half wages, they will earn 1.5 hours of compensatory time for each extra hour worked. Sheriff’s office employees will be able to take it when they earn a full comp day and give adequate notice to the sheriff.
The policy also allows the sheriff to set blackout dates for comp time based on scheduled vacations.
Lucas adds the change will not remove overtime, but will reduce it significantly. By paying it in comp time instead it will also allow the sheriff to better control his budget.
The new policy will take effect with the May 15 pay period after receiving unanimous approval from the Starke County Commissioners.