City employees called to active duty in the military reserves during the Persian Gulf crisis will continue to receive health care benefits until they return to their jobs, the City Council decided this week.
The action pertains only to the current crisis and is not a permanent change in city policy, Personnel Director Steven E. Hayman said.
The city regularly pays employees up to 30 days salary and full benefits after they are called into active military duty and allows up to 180 days of vacation, sick time and holiday pay to be accrued during any active duty assignment.
"We have been contacted by several employees who could potentially be called up," City Manager Allan L. Roeder told the council.
The employees were concerned about the continuation of health benefits for their families, he said. The city employs six reservists who could be called for involuntary service.
The city's coverage of health benefits for employees and their dependents is considered secondary to the military's medical programs and becomes effective on the 31st calendar day of their military leave, Hayman said.
Other cities are also considering or have recently changed their policies regarding health benefits for employees called to military duty. Anaheim, for example, is considering continuing group benefits up to 180 days after an employee is called to duty.
Santa Ana is considering a proposal that eligible employees receive the full difference between their gross military pay and their base salary with the city.