Q: Since the pandemic began, we have more employees working from home. Are city employees covered by workers’ compensation while working from home?
LMC: Generally, city employees who are working from home have workers’ compensation coverage if they are injured in the course of performing work duties. For example, if the employee develops carpal tunnel syndrome due to computer work, it likely will be covered, even if the work was being done at home. However, if the employee is injured in a car accident while picking up their children from school during their lunch break, the injury is likely not covered.
Unfortunately, many work-at-home injuries may land in a gray zone when it comes to determining whether the employee was injured while performing work duties, and the law will undoubtedly evolve as working from home becomes increasingly popular. When in doubt, the best course of action is to contact the city’s workers’ compensation provider for more guidance. As a best practice, supervisors should talk to their employees working from home about safety and ergonomic issues. Get simple ergonomic tips for working from home in the LMC Pipeline blog at https://bit.ly/work-at-home-ergo.
Answered by Human Resources Director Laura Kushner: email@example.com
Q: Rather than keeping up with a data retention schedule, why shouldn’t our city just keep everything? We’re a small city with lots of storage space.
LMC: Even with ample storage space, the volume of records would eventually become a problem if a city chose to keep everything. But the main reason to purge records is efficiency. The law requires cities to retain only “official records,” and those only for certain periods of time (except for certain records that are permanent).
All data kept by a city is subject to government data requests, even if the data:
- Isn’t an official record.
- Is an official record that could have been purged.
If the city retains more records than needed, city staff might have to search through a multitude of paper records or electronic information if there is a government data request, or even to find information they need for their own use. While implementing and complying with a records retention schedule does take time, it is time well-spent for the result of an organized and efficient set of official city records. You can access the General Records Retention Schedule for Minnesota Cities on the Municipal Clerks and Finance Officers Association of Minnesota’s website at www.mcfoa.org/records. Learn more about records management from the LMC Handbook for Minnesota Cities at www.lmc.org/records-management.
Answered by Research Analyst Angie Storlie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Our city is about to get into the busy time of year and will need more employees. What should we do to make sure new hires know how to do their jobs safely?
LMC: Many cities hire a lot of seasonal workers during the spring and summer. When new hires start, whether seasonal or permanent, it’s important to give them the proper training before they actually begin doing their jobs. Even if a new employee has a lot of experience, the proper training and certification is a must. You’ll also want to make sure employees sign off that they have received their onboarding and job-specific training.
Cities often hire youth for seasonal work since they are available during the summer. While hiring someone under 18 could be an option for a quick hire, this comes with more considerations and obligations. There are many legal restrictions related to youth employment that your city needs to be aware of. Learn more about this from the LMC Pipeline blog at https://bit.ly/lmc-youth-workers.
There are a wide variety of city jobs, and they all have risks and hazards that new employees need to be trained to avoid. For a list of required safety training, see the League’s Safety Training Table at www.lmc.org/safety-comm.
Answered by Loss Control Field Consultant Michael Neff: email@example.com