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ORANGE : City Extends Benefits for Reservist Families

Dependents of city employees who are called to serve in the armed forces during the Persian Gulf War will continue to receive health benefits for the next six months, the City Council decided this week.

Orv Placial, personnel director, said he recommended that medical, dental, vision and life insurance be extended for dependents of military reservists after three city employees were called to active duty.

Placial said up to four more employees may be affected if the conflict continues. If all seven employees are called for duty, the continuation of benefits to dependents will cost the city a total of about $1,365 per month, Placial said.

The plan becomes effective 31 days after the employee begins military leave.

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So far, the city has made no provisions to extend the benefits if reservists are gone longer than six months.

“After 180 days we will look at the situation again and reevaluate it and see where we are then,” Placial said. “It’s a cost item to consider but we are trying to balance that with the morale of the employees and their dependents and trying to help the employee who has been called into service.”

The employees will also retain their seniority and accumulate vacation, sick leave and holiday privileges for at least six months, as required by the state law.

County supervisors agreed this week to supplement the salaries of county employees in the reserves by making up for any pay loss the employees suffer if called to active duty. So far the city has extended no salary supplement to reservists.

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