For Your Information
Together, we make HomeWorks a great place to work. We look forward to many productive and successful years with you and your co-workers.
This handbook is provided to you electronically on purpose; it is a living document that may change often. It can be accessed on any electronic device with an internet connection, including computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.
The handbook contains only general information, and has been written to serve as a guide for the relationship between you and HomeWorks. It is not intended to be comprehensive, or to address all the possible applications of, or exceptions to, the general policies and procedures described. For that reason, if you have any questions concerning eligibility for a particular benefit or the applicability of a policy or practice to you, you should address your specific questions to your supervisor or Human Resources.
In general, this handbook is applicable to both union and non-union employees. However, union employees are bound by the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) where some of these same topics are covered.
We operate on a 40-hour week with standard office hours of 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, except where department needs or operations require otherwise. For instance, our electric operations generally work from 7:30 to 4, adjusting during Daylight Savings Time to a 7-3:30 shift. This requires that someone is available before 8 am to dispatch crews and monitor the radios for safety. Office staff members will work with your supervisor to schedule your one-hour lunch break and two 15-minute breaks (morning and afternoon) to assure departmental coverage as needed.
Employment Status & Type
It's important that you understand your employment status and benefit eligibility. While we don't like to label people, each of us actually does fall into a specific employment classification. Please note that classifications do not guarantee employment for any specified period of time.
Each employee is designated as either Nonexempt or Exempt from federal and state wage and hour laws. Nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime pay under the specific provisions of federal and state laws. Exempt employees are excluded from specific provisions of federal and state wage and hour laws. An employee’s Exempt or Nonexempt classification may be changed only upon written notification by management.
Regular full-time employees are those who are not in a temporary or introductory status and who are regularly scheduled to work 40 hours a week. Generally, they are eligible for HomeWorks’ benefit package, subject to the terms, conditions, and limitations of each benefit program.
Part-time employees are those who are not assigned to a temporary or introductory status and who are regularly scheduled to work less than 20 hours per week. While they do receive all legally mandated benefits (such as social security and workers’ compensation insurance), they are ineligible for all of the other benefit programs.
Temporary employees are those who are hired as interim replacements, to temporarily supplement the work force, or to assist in the completion of a specific project. Employment assignments in this category are of a limited duration. Employment beyond any initially stated period does not in any way imply a change in employment status. While temporary employees receive all legally mandated benefits (such as social security and workers’ compensation insurance), they are ineligible for HomeWorks’s other benefit programs.
We have in the past worked with employees to provide flexibility, such as job-sharing, or allowing work from home via secure computers if your job duties permitted. If you have a similar suggestion or need, please bring it to your supervisor for discussion.
Employee Development & Review
We suggest that you discuss your job performance with your supervisor frequently. Regular feedback gives us an opportunity to thank employees for jobs well done, lets us correct course where needed, and helps us build a stronger, better team. We try to schedule at least one annual review of your goals and training needs, as part of an annual performance review.
We encourage you to seek all the training necessary to help you do your job to the best of your ability, whether it’s a course, on-the-job mentoring, or cross-training with other departments. Talk to your supervisor about training you would like to pursue.
If you're interested in working toward a degree, HomeWorks offers education assistance to help you pay for it. Refer to Education Assistance in the "Your Pay & Benefits" section of this handbook.
There may be a time when your abilities to work successfully are hindered by physical or mental issues. The general manager may require an employee to be examined physically or mentally, including x-rays or any other tests required by the examining physician, at any time. If an examination shows the employee is not able to perform his or her normal duties, the employee and supervisor must meet to determine appropriate action. The Cooperative will pay all expenses incurred when examinations are required, and will designate the examining physician.
Close relatives of directors or senior staff at HomeWorks, or its affiliate operations, will not be considered for full-time regular hourly or salaried employment. Close relatives of employees cannot be employed within the same department; employees may not supervise close relatives. "Close relative" is defined to include your spouse/former spouse/partner, parents, children, and siblings, and the parents, children, and siblings of your spouse/former spouse/partner.
Employment at Will
Although we want and encourage you to have fun while you’re working, there are times when we need to be serious. This is one of them. This handbook does not constitute a contract or guarantee of employment. Our relationship is considered “at-will” (for those employees not covered under the union contract). That means we can terminate your employment at any time, for any reason, with or without cause. The same holds true for you. You can voluntarily terminate your employment at any time, for any reason.
Employment Separation, Layoff or Discharge
You may leave your job at HomeWorks for one of several reasons: retirement, resignation, permanent disability, layoff, or discharge. Benefit programs are paid through the last day worked. For purposes of retirement, the last day worked is also your retirement date. Any unused earned vacation or sick time hours not used before the last day worked will be paid out on a final paycheck, per the respective policies.
Economic or business considerations may cause a need to reduce personnel. HomeWorks reserves the sole right to determine when and in what manner such a reduction in force will take effect. Any employee affected by a layoff will be given two weeks prior notice, or two weeks pay in lieu of notice.