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Watch hours, stay financially healthy
City of Manteca works to avoid added healthcare costs
Administrative Services Director Joe Kriskovich indicated the city is making sure it doesnt incur additional health care costs by part-time employees working too many hours. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Part-time employees for the City of Manteca - unless they are seasonal workers - won’t be getting more than 29 hours a week of work.

The city is following in the footsteps of the private sector and is carefully scrutinizing the federal Affordable Health Care Act to make sure their employment patterns don’t trigger costly health care coverage mandates.

To do so, would have the potential of costing Manteca taxpayers a maximum of anywhere from $140,000 to $380,000 a month.

Administrative Services Director Joe Kriskovich said the city has been in contact with experts versed in the cumbersome new regulations to make sure they don’t inadvertently add to municipal costs. Any increase in health care coverage would hit the general fund that pays for day-to-day services such as police, fire, streets, and parks. The general fund has taken the biggest hit from the Great Recession.

Manteca does have some part-time staff that exceeds 30 hours but they meet the Affordable Health Care Act’s definition of seasonal workers. That means they can work a full 40 hours and the city not pay benefits providing they have only seasonal employment. Falling under that provision may be some part-time golf course maintenance workers as well as most of those hired to provide manpower to operate for fee recreation programs.

Kriskovich noted no city employees had any hours reduced to avoid health care costs. A number of private sector firms such as supermarket chains have already started paring back hours of many workers below the 29 hour a week threshold to avoid mandated insurance coverage.

Altogether, the city has 200 part-time employees. Most are within the Parks & Recreation Department.

Benefits per month for an employee cost the city from $700 for just the worker, $1,200 for the worker and spouse and $1,900 for a family of four.

Kriskovich said the city strives to run like a business. That means putting safeguards in place to avoid expenses that could severely impact the bottom line which is providing service to the city’s 70,000 residents in the most efficient manner feasible.