HOME / ASSEMBLY OFFICE / 1999 ANNUAL REPORT
1999 Annual Report
Human Resource Services
Members and their constituency office employees remained a primary focus of the branch in 1999. Human Resource Services (HRS) provided professional and responsive support in all matters relating to human resource management, including salary, wage, and fee-for-service contract administration; pay and benefits management; recruitment; occupational health and safety; job classification; employee relations and performance appraisal; training and employee development; and issues related to attendance, maternity, illness, and workers' compensation leaves. This same expertise was provided to managers and staff of the caucus offices and the Legislative Assembly Office.
Highlights and challenges for HRS were many and varied this year. Maintenance and ongoing enhancement of the in-house payroll system continued, including streamlining third-party reconciliations and reporting. The system proved to be very flexible in addressing our changing pay requirements. The production and issuance of T4 slips and Revenue Canada summary information at year-end also went smoothly. By the end of 1999 implementation of the human resource component of the present system was well underway.
The first choice point for the LAO's employee 1st Choice benefit plan occurred in July 1999. This was employees' first opportunity to make changes to their optional benefits. The branch prepared personalized choice forms and information packages for staff and consulted with all salaried employees about their available options. Once employees made their choices, HRS updated the appropriate information on the files, in the system, and, as required, with the various benefit carriers.
This year the branch spent considerable time and effort supporting issues related to extended illness or accident. Five employees were absent for extended periods due to illness, four received long-term disability insurance benefits, and six reported work site incidents. In each case HRS worked with the employee, medical practitioners, supervisor, and case or claims administrators to ensure a safe and productive return to work.
General activity related to pay and benefit administration was heavy throughout the year. HRS worked closely with all staff to overcome problems with processing dental claims associated with the conversion of Mutual Life to Clarica. The branch implemented adjustments to rate changes including decreased pension contributions in August. Refund amounts were calculated and paid as appropriate.
Human resources continued to assist staff and managers with commencements, terminations, and transfers of staff in and out of the organization. Branch staff co-ordinated 14 competitions for the LAO, conducting 143 interviews and hiring 34 staff. Pay increases and adjustments were processed as required. HRS also managed the summer temporary employment program (STEP), which employed 75 additional staff in constituency, caucus, and LAO offices, and co-ordinated the Quebec/Alberta exchange program, which allocated three students to the LAO in the summer of 1999.
On behalf of the Information Systems Services (ISS) branch HRS conducted a review to assess industry norms, trends, retention strategies, and challenges facing the information technology sector to attract and retain qualified staff. This assessment supported the LAO's guidelines that were implemented to ensure ISS staff remains competitive with industry norms.
Following the direction of the Members' Services Committee, the branch implemented a 2.44 percent increase to the MLA indemnity and tax-free allowance and all other related MLA remuneration on April 1, 1999. As with any MLA adjustment, HRS responded to questions from the public, produced and distributed general fact sheets explaining the change, and posted related information on the Assembly's web site. As well, the branch participated in co-ordinating and processing changes to MLA pay and benefits resulting from a cabinet shuffle in May. The shuffle also had an impact on pay related to government committee appointments. Human resources continued to liaise with members, Executive Council, and government department representatives to initiate, pay, recover, and monitor payments made to MLAs on behalf of departments for ministerial and government committee payments. In the fall HRS provided human resource support to the new independent member.
This year the Speaker sent each member an individual summary of benefits and entitlements brochure for the first time, outlining personal benefit choices and standard entitlements. HRS made plans to prepare similar information for members on a regular basis. As well, pursuant to direction from the Members' Services Committee, each member was again provided with a vacation accrual report in January detailing the accrued vacation costs for present employees in constituency offices. Similar requests related to employees' entitlements were also addressed with both caucus and LAO employees.
The LAO continued to be a leader, both in the province of Alberta and among Canadian Legislatures, in the development of an ergonomics program. The ergonomics committee, led by HRS and composed of representatives from all branches, developed and implemented a practical education and awareness program with a custom information brochure, orientation sessions, and individual workstation assessments. Presentations in 1999 focused on staff of the constituency offices. A total of 118 constituency office and LAO employees attended training sessions. Thirty-one employees received individual on-site workstation assessments that resulted in improvements to workstation setups. Since the implementation of this program the number of significant injuries due to repetitive strain have decreased.
Human resources helped co-ordinate three information sessions for constituency office staff. These opportunities to exchange information and get employee feedback involved all branches of the LAO and proved to be very beneficial. Another interbranch activity was the LAO's annual employee recognition dinner in December, which constituency office staff attended for the first time. At the event the Speaker expressed appreciation to all staff for their continued support and service to the organization. HRS co-ordinated activities related to the recognition awards. Representatives from HRS also participated on the interbranch web site committee established to develop an expanded web site as an additional resource for MLAs, employees, and the public.
The electronic copy of the Legislative Assembly Office Annual Report is UNOFFICIAL and is provided for information purposes only. The printed version is the OFFICIAL Annual Report.