Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation will begin offering paid time off for part-time employees starting Jan. 1 to help attract workers in a job market that often has more open positions than qualified applicants.
“With unemployment at an all-time low, recruiting and retaining quality part-time staff has become exponentially more difficult,” CCPR Assistant Director Kurtis Baumgartner said at the Dec. 11 board meeting. “Our part-time staff comprises 86 percent of our workforce. That’s pretty significant.”
CCPR considers employees part-time if they work less than 30 hours per week. Most of them work in park maintenance, the Monon Community Center or Extended School Enrichment program. Offering paid time off to the department’s more than 550 part-time workers will cost approximately $21,800 per year, Baumgartner said, but he thinks it’s worth the investment.
“We can’t function without part-time staff,” he said, adding that the benefit is targeted at employees who work 10 to 20 hours per week.
CCPR gathered information on what benefits are offered to part-time employees at 23 local businesses and organizations that compete for workers with CCPR. Baumgartner said paid time off was the most popular benefit, followed by memberships. Only the largest employers, such as Target and Home Depot, offered multiple benefits for part-time workers.
The CCPR board unanimously approved the benefit, although board member Jim Garretson said he was concerned that the department could be hurt financially if it doesn’t begin planning for a possible mandated bump in the minimum wage to $15 per hour or so.