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Managing your risk by Michael Kelly

NCACC Risk Management Director Michael Kelly writes a regular column on risk management for CountyLines. With more than 41 years of risk management/ insurance experience, he holds the CPCU - Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter, ARM-P - Associate in Risk Management for Public Entities, CRM - Certified Risk Manager, ARe - Associate in Reinsurance and CIC - Certified Insurance Counselor Professional Designations. He can be reached at michael.kelly@ncacc.org or (919) 719-1124.  For archives of this column click here.

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Jun 28

HR Helpline Report Card Results for First Year

Posted on June 28, 2016 at 2:25 PM by Todd McGee

A year ago on January 1, the NCACC Governmental Risk Pools kicked off an additional loss control service – the Human Resources Legal Helpline –designed to give members access to legal advice from attorneys experienced in employment law in an effort to assist with basic, time-sensitive employment issues. The primary goal is to avoid potential HR missteps and unnecessary litigation.

In reviewing the number and types of issues fielded by the HR Helpline, it was interesting to note the wide range of questions addressed.. A total of 41 calls were returned to 17 different county pool members, representing a 25 percent county member utilization.  Eighty-three percent of calls came from HR Directors followed by 15 percent from County Managers and two percent from other county staff, including the County Attorney.

Here is a simple matrix outlining the type of HR issue addressed:

Type of HR Issue Addressed

Total % of All Cases

Average Time to Resolve Issue

Americans With Disabilities Act

39%

1.6 days

Family Medical Leave Act

22%

2.1 days

Various Disciplinary Actions

8%

0.5 days

Termination of Employment

7%

2.3 days

Wage and Hour Issues

6%

2.1 days

Miscellaneous

18%

1.9 days


These percentages are estimates as some calls encompassed two or more types of issues. The average time from original contact to resolution was 1.8 days, which we believe is an exceptional response time when you consider how difficult it can be to get legal advice quickly.

To review, examples of when the Helpline can be utilized include:

  • Disciplinary actions
  • Terminations
  • Harassment allegations
  • Reasonable accommodation requests
  • Discrimination and retaliation allegations
  • FMLA questions/compliance concerns
  • Civil Service questions/compliance concerns

It is important to note that the HR Helpline is limited in scope and not intended to replace any of the services afforded by statutory/local legal counsel, HR departments, or HR consulting firms. You will still need to consult with your own legal counsel or other contracted HR professionals for the following instances or similar circumstances:

  • Court or administrative hearing appearance on behalf of member
  • In person meeting with member
  • Sending correspondence to adverse party on behalf of member
  • Creation, review and editing of employment policies, handbooks or personnel descriptions
  • Civil Service matters revolving around a layoff or job abolishment
  • Circumstances that will require extensive legal research or time

The NCACC Governmental Risk Pools Board of Trustees and management staff believe that services such as the HR Helpline, provided at no additional cost to pool members, will lead to lower employment liability losses, which will help diminish the need to increase renewal rates.

It also underscores one of the many favorable differences when comparing the Pools to risk management services provided through a standard insurance carrier.  In the 10 years preceding implementation of the HR Helpline, the Liability & Property Risk Pool averaged 10 employment liability claims in a 12-month period. During the HR Helpline’s first year, that number dropped to 3. If this trend continues, we are on track for continued success.