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County Administrator's Report
BCC Regular Meeting
Technical/Public Service Consent
Rescission of Tobacco-Free Hiring Policy
Recommendation Concerning the Escambia County Tobacco-Free Hiring Policy - Thomas G. "Tom" Turner, Human Resources Department Director
That the Board rescind the Tobacco-Free Hiring Policy adopted September 4, 2008, and last amended August 21, 2014, effective immediately, and approve increasing the health insurance premium differential for nicotine users from $20 per month to $50 per month for coverage beginning January 1, 2018.
On September 4, 2008 the Board of County Commissioners adopted a policy prohibiting the employment of individuals who use nicotine containing products. The adopted policy is attached. The County has found this policy to be a hindrance to hiring needed talent in at times critical positions. Further, once an applicant passes the employment screening test they are no longer subject to dismissal should they choose to begin or revert to use of nicotine products. Candidates for employment are aware of the thirty day window to refrain from use of nicotine to pass the screening test and often immediately revert to tobacco use once they are employed. A candidate that is seeking to cease the use of tobacco products but is using a nicotine containing product such as Nicorette gum will fail the nicotine screening test and not be eligible for hire.
The BCC does charge a differential on health insurance premium contributions between those that are nicotine free and those using nicotine products. Currently that difference is $20 per month. All employees claiming the status of a non-nicotine user are subject to random testing. A positive test result in the employee repaying the $20 per month for the plan year in which they failed the test. This has not been proven to be a sufficient financial deterrent to employees to maintain a non-nicotine user status. Staff recommends this differential be increased to $50 effective with premium payments for the plan year beginning 2018. Since premiums are collected from employees in the month preceding the coverage month this means the differential will be increased with premiums deducted in December 2017 for the coverage effective January 2018.
POLICY/REQUIREMENT FOR BOARD ACTION:
Rescind the Tobacco-Free Hiring Policy adopted September 4, 2008 and most recently amended August 21, 2014 and approve increasing the health insurance premium differential for nicotine users from $20 per month to $50 per month for coverage beginning January 2018.
The human resources employment section will revise the hiring criteria immediately. The human resources benefit section will communicate the increase in the health insurance contribution and provide resources to aid employees to cease consumption of nicotine products. The human resources department will meet with the representatives of the four bargaining units to negotiate the impact of this premium adjustment.
Tobacco Free Policy
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