Richmond VA > Human Resources > Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: 2012-11-16

Employment

How do I create an account and apply for a job online?

Instructions on applying for a job - new applicant.

How do I apply for a specific job if I already have an account?

Instructions on applying for a job - returning applicant

Can I submit a paper application?

The city only accepts on-line applications submitted through Richmond On-Line Staffing System (ROSS).

How often are new job openings released?

New job openings are released on-line every Sunday. However, the city reserves the right to release job openings as needed.

How do I find out what positions are available?

Find jobs at this link.

How can I find out the status of my application?

To find out the status of an application, log into the account from the return user's link on the employment page and click on the 'Application Status' link.

I forgot my account username and password. How do I get it?

Click on the 'I forgot my password' link from the login page within the job posting. You will receive an e-mail with your account information to the e-mail address on your application.

Who will see my application after I submit it on-line?

All information is on a secure web server. Only Human Resources staff and other city department users authorized to review specific job openings will have access to job applications. The city of Richmond does not share its database with other companies or localities.

Can I still apply for a job if I missed the deadline?

Once a closing date has passed, no additional applications will be accepted.

If I previously applied for a position, will you automatically be considered for the same position if it is reposted?

An application must be submitted for each posting. If a position is reposted, a new application is required to be considered for the opening.

Can I update my application after it has been submitted?

Once an application has been submitted, you can not go back and change any information. However, if you need to update your contact information, you can do so by logging back into your account and clicking on the "My Account" link. The updates will appear in your profile.

Who will contact me if I am selected for an interview?

If you are selected for an interview, a department representative will contact you.

How can I determine if I meet the requirements for the position?

The job requirements such as education levels and years of experience are listed in each posting. In order for an applicant to be considered for employment, they should meet or exceed the general job requirements.

What does unclassified and classified employment mean?

Unclassified employees serve at the will of the appointing authority. Classified employees have grievance rights following the completion of their probationary period.

Benefits

What is a Deferred Compensation Program?

A Deferred Compensation program is a program that allows you to invest today for your retirement. Federal and (in most cases) state income taxes are deferred until your funds are withdrawn, usually during retirement when you may be in a lower tax bracket.

Is it a 401(k)?

No. Government employees are regulated under Section 457 of the Internal Revenue Code. Private employers have Section 401(K) programs.

When can I join this program?

All full-time employees may join the program upon date of hire. Deferrals will begin on the earliest payday following receipt of the enrollment form in the Department of Human Resources based on payroll closing deadlines.

How much can I contribute?

You may contribute up to $16,500.00 of your gross earnings each calendar year. There are pre-retirement catch up provisions available as you near your retirement. The city requires a minimum of $5.00 each pay period in order to join the program.

What are my tax savings?

This depends on the amount you defer and your own personal tax situation. It is usually at least 20% of the amount you defer.

Does the city match my contributions?

No. There is no city match.

What investments are available?

There are over 25 investment funds available to you. The vendor also sets up different portfolios of funds to assist you.

More details about the funds, earnings rates, investment fees and risk factors are available in the brochures.

The city cannot give you investment advice. You must make your own investment decisions.

Can I make changes during the year?

Yes. You may change your deferral amount (increase, decrease, start or stop) by completing a change form. You may do this each pay period.

You may change your investments/allocations directly with the vendor by telephone or Internet. Some restrictions may apply when transferring between funds.

When do I get my money?

When you leave city service, either upon retirement or service termination. Should you die, your beneficiary will receive the funds. There is a 60 days wait before the first payment.

You do not need to take the money. You may leave it with the city until age 70.

You must select a payment date within 60 days of leaving city service or payments will default to monthly at age 65. You may change your payment date forward one time only; otherwise, this election is irrevocable.

There is variety of payment options available to you that are described fully in a withdrawal package.

You may also transfer the funds tax free to another government employer if that employer has a Section 457 program.

What is a Small Account Distribution?

If you have not had deferrals for two years and your account is under $5,000, you may have your funds while still working. This is a one time only offer. You may rejoin the program at any time.

Are there any penalties when money is withdrawn?

You will pay the Federal and state taxes upon distribution.

What is an emergency withdrawal?

It is extremely difficult to receive your funds while working. An emergency withdrawal may be made for medical reasons or crises such as floods, fire, hurricanes, potential loss of your primary residence etc. The event must be unforeseen. It must be unbudgetable. It must represent a last resort. It must be fully documented.

What is not an emergency withdrawal?

Funds will not be released for purchases of a home or automobile, education expenses (i.e. college tuition), Normal monthly expenses (e.g. rent, mortgage payments, utilities, credit card bills or car payments), unpaid taxes, travel expenses, bankruptcy, marital separation or divorces or child support and repayment of loans.

Can I borrow from my account?

Yes, you can borrow up to 50% of your current account balance. Only one loan is allowed per calendar year.

Group Life Insurance

What is my Group Life Insurance coverage amount?

You are covered for two times your salary rounded to the higher thousand dollars. In the event of accidental death, you are covered for four times your salary.

What is my cost?

The city shares the cost of this program. You pay .49% of your salary and the city .33%. The deduction is taken the second pay period of each month. Unclassified employees do not pay for this coverage

When does my coverage start?

All full time employees are covered upon date of hire.

Why does the new member enrollment form say Virginia Retirement System since city employees belong to the Richmond Retirement System?

The city joined the State program for life insurance only in 1962. The current carrier for the program is Minnesota Life Insurance Company.

Why is this a mandated benefit?

When the city joined the state program in 1962, all employees were given the option to waive coverage. The State then mandated all new employees must be enrolled.

What is group term additional on my paycheck?

There is a section of the Internal Revenue Code (Section 79) that mandates that the value of coverage in excess of $50,000 in taxable income to employees. The taxable amount is based on your coverage and age less any premiums you pay.

Does coverage cease when I leave the city?

Coverage continues upon early or normal retirement and ceases for service terminations. You may convert your policy upon service termination.

Once you retire, the coverage reduces 25% yearly until it is 25% of the pre-retirement amount. This takes about three years. You do not have to pay for the coverage once you retire.

Can I buy additional coverage?

Yes. You may buy additional coverage for you, your spouse and your child(ren) under the Optional Life Plan.

The amount and cost of coverage is outline in a brochure available from the Department of Human Resources.

You must buy this within 30 days of date of hire. You may add a spouse to your optional policy within 30 days of marriage. You may add a newborn within 30 days of the date of birth.

If you do not purchase coverage as a new employee you may later request the coverage. Each family member to be covered must complete a health status declaration. Based on this information, Minnesota Life will decide whether or not to issue a policy.

You may continue your Optional Life Insurance as a retiree with at least 60 months of coverage. You will pay the same premiums as active employees. You can only continue option 1 or option 2. Coverage reduces at age 65 and terminates at age 80.

You can convert your Optional Life coverage to an individual policy at termination.

What happens if I am on leave without pay?

If you do not receive a paycheck, you are responsible for paying your life insurance premiums by check or money order payable to the city of Richmond. Your payment needs to be sent to the Department of Human Resources. Payment is due on the payday in which a deduction would normally process. Failure to remit premiums will result in cancellation of coverage.

Is there any cash value?

No. This is term insurance. Your beneficiary receives the "face value" of the policy i.e. the amount of coverage in force. It is group insurance and the State is the master policyholder.

Health Care Program

When does my coverage start?

If you are hired between the first and fifteenth of the month, coverage begins the first of the following month.

If you are hired the sixteenth through the end of the month, coverage begins the first of the second following month.

The Department of Human Resources must have the forms to the vendor within 30 days of your date of hire. Otherwise, you must wait for an open enrollment season to join the program.

Does my coverage include dental?

No. If you wish dental coverage you must purchase a separate plan.

What is the cost of the program?

A rate table is available from the Department of Human Resources or your departmental payroll personnel. Deductions are processed the first and second pay period of each month. Deductions are on a pre-tax basis.

Does the city contribute to the program?

Yes. The city contribution is shown on the rate table.

When will I get an identification card?

You will receive an identification card from the vendor about 15 days after the Department of Human Resources sends your enrollment/change form.

Each family member receives a card.

You need to check your identification card to ensure that your social security number, name and physician are shown correctly.

The card also shows co-payments for frequently used services, the vendor’s member services number, your group number and the address needed to file claims.

You should carry this card with you at all times.

How do I know what doctors, hospitals and other services I can use?

A directory of network doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other services is available online and in the Department of Human Resources.

Can I add a spouse or dependent to my plan during the year?

You may add a spouse within 30 days of marriage. You may add a newborn within 30 days of birth.

If your spouse looses employment, you may add your spouse (and eligible dependents covered by your spouse) within 30 days of the loss of coverage.

You may also add a dependent within 30 days of adoption or receiving custody.

If you do not add your spouse/dependents within 30 days, you may do so during an open enrollment season.

Who does my plan cover?

The city covers full time employees and permanent part time employees working 20 or more hours a week. We cover spouses and unmarried dependent children through age 25 if the dependent is a full-time student or lacks the ability to secure employment due to a physical or mental disability.

What happens if I am on leave without pay?

If you do not receive a paycheck, you are responsible for paying your health care premiums by check or money order payable to the city of Richmond. Your payment needs to be sent to the Department of Human Resources. Payment is due on the payday in which a deduction would normally process. Failure to remit premiums will result in cancellation of coverage. As long as you pay your premiums, the city will continue to contribute its share of the cost.

What is COBRA?

The Consolidate Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows former employees, their spouse and dependents to continue coverage with the city upon service termination, divorce, death or loss of dependent status. You will receive a notice when you first enroll in health care and when an above-referenced event occurs. Your spouse and dependents will also receive a notice upon certain events such as divorce or death. COBRA also applies to your dental coverage.

Is same-sex spouse health benefit being offered by the City of Richmond?

Effective October 6, 2014, the city of Richmond Employee and Retiree Health and Welfare Benefit Program began covering same sex spouses and eligible dependents. Please note that the standard rules regarding spouse and dependent coverage continue to apply.

Will all same sex spouses be eligible for benefits?

Any individual who is lawfully joined in marriage to an employee or retired employee as recognized by the laws of Virginia is eligible for benefits.

When can I enroll my same sex spouse and eligible dependents?

Married currently - employees who have been legally married in another state must enroll their spouse and eligible dependent children within 30 days of October 6, 2014 which is November 5, 2014. Coverage will be effective November 1, 2014 for medical and December 1, 2014 for dental.

Future married - employees who are legally married to a same sex spouse must enroll their spouse and eligible dependent children within 30 days of the date of marriage. If your marriage date is the first through the 15th of the month, coverage will be effective on the first day of the month following the marriage. If your date of marriage is the 16th through the end of the month, coverage will be effective the first day of the second month following the month of marriage.

Example #1: Employee married 1st - 15th January. Medical effective February 1. Dental effective March 1

Example #2: Employee married 16th - 31st January. Medical effective March 1. Dental effective April 1.

What documentation will be required by the city in order to add a same sex spouse?

Official State marriage certificate (must be a certified copy and dated by the appropriate state or city official, such as the Clerk of Court) from the court in the county or city in which the marriage took place. Please note that the standard rules regarding spouse and dependent coverage continue to apply.

Will the dependent children of same sex spouses also be eligible for benefits?

Yes, as long as legal documentation is provided, such as birth certificate. Please note that the standard rules regarding spouse and dependent coverage continue to apply.

What is my cost for adding my same sex domestic partner/spouse and/or the children of my domestic partner/spouse to my health benefits plan?

Your cost will be based on the plan in which you are currently enrolled.

May I drop my medical and/dental plan or change benefit plans because of my marriage to a same sex spouse?

All benefit changes must be consistent with the qualifying event. All standard rules to the city's benefit plans will continue to apply.

What about FMLA? How does this apply to same sex marriage?

All standard rules will continue to apply.

Dental Program

What Dental Insurance is available?

The city offers a dental health maintenance organization (DHMO) and an indemnity program.

The DHMO has a network of dentists and specialists and you must use the network. Each family member may select a different dentist.

The indemnity program allows you to use any licensed dentist. There is a preferred provider group as well. If you elect a preferred provider, your co-payments are reduced.

What other differences are there between the dental plans?

The DHMO has flat dollar co-payments and a 25% discount with network specialists.

The indemnity has percentage co-payments based on the services. If you do not use a preferred provider, you may have to file your own claims. Some dentists require that you make payment and then file a claim for reimbursement. The Department of Human Resources has claim forms available.

When does my coverage start?

If you are hired between the first and the fifteenth of the month, coverage begins the first of the second following month.

If you are hired between the sixteenth and the end of the month, coverage begins the first of the third following month.

The Department of Human Resources must send the forms to the vendor within 30 days of your date of hire. Otherwise, you must wait until an open enrollment season to join the plan.

How much does it cost?

The Department of Human Resources and your department payroll personnel have a rate table available. The city does not contribute to this program. This is a prepaid program. We start deductions a month prior to your coverage effective date. Deductions are on a pre-tax basis.

When will I get an identification card?

You will receive an identification card from the vendor about 15 days after the Department of Human Resources sends your enrollment/change form.

Can I change dentists during the year?

Yes. Just call the member services number on your identification card. Ask the vendor what the effective date of change is. Do not visit your new dentist until the change is effective.

Who does my plan cover?

The city covers full time employees and permanent part time employees working 20 or more hours a week. We cover spouses and unmarried dependent children under age 20 and unmarried children who are full time students to age 25 if the dependent is a full-time student or lacks the ability to secure employment due to a physical or mental disability.

Can I add a spouse or dependent to my plan during the year?

You may add a spouse within 30 days of marriage. You may add a newborn within 30 days of birth. If your spouse loses employment, you may add your spouse (and eligible dependents covered by your spouse) within 30 days of the loss of coverage. You may also add a dependent within 30 days of adoption or receiving custody. If you do not add your spouse/dependents within 30 days, you may do so during an open enrollment season.

What happens if I am on leave without pay?

If you do not receive a paycheck, you are responsible for paying your health care premiums by check or money order made payable to the city of Richmond. Your payment needs to be sent to the Department of Human Resources. Payments are due on the payday in which a deduction would normally process. Failure to remit premiums will result in cancellation of coverage.

Are there other voluntary benefits?

You may purchase the following individual policies within 30 days of your hire date or during on open enrollment season:

  • Short term disability
  • Cancer
  • Accident
  • Hospital Intensive Care
  • Hospital Indemnity
  • Long Term Care
  • Legal Resources
  • Medical and dependent care reimbursement accounts

Since these are individual policies and are designed for you, you must see a service representative to purchase them. The coverage and cost will depend on your selection. The policies are portable should you leave city service.

Family Medical Leave Act

How does the city calculate the "rolling" 12-month FMLA period?

The city of Richmond uses the "rolling" method for determining the 12-month period in which the 12 weeks of leave entitlement occur. A "rolling" 12-month period is measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave. The rolling method is also commonly known as the "look-back" method. Using this method, the employer will look back over the last 12 months from the date of the request, add all FMLA time the employee has used during the previous 12 months and subtract that total from the employee's 12- week leave allotment.

Does the law guarantee paid time off?

No. The FMLA only requires unpaid leave. However, the city requires employees to exhaust all accumulated compensatory time and shared leave before taking family and medical leave without pay. Employees may use accrued paid leave such as vacation and sick leave (if applicable) for some or all of the FMLA leave period.

Which employees are eligible to take FMLA leave?

Employees are eligible to take FMLA leave if they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, and have worked for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.

Do the 1,250 hours include paid leave time or other absences from work?

No. The 1,250 hours include only those hours actually worked for the employer. Paid leave and unpaid leave, including FMLA leave, are not included.

Who is considered an "immediate family member" for purposes of taking FMLA leave?

An employee's spouse, son, daughter, and parents are immediate family members for purposes of FMLA.

The term "parent" does not include a spouse's parent.

The phrase son or daughter, as used above, has been defined by the Department of Labor to mean "a biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is (A) under 18 years of age, or (B) 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of mental or physical disability."

Can I take FMLA leave for visits to a physical therapist, if my doctor prescribes the therapy?

Yes. FMLA permits you to take leave to receive continuing treatment by a health care provider, which can include recurring absences for therapy treatments ordered by a doctor for physical therapy.

Do I have to give my employer my medical records for leave due to a serious health condition?

No. You do not have to provide medical records. The employer may however, request that for any leave taken due to a serious health condition, you provide a medical certification confirming that a serious health condition exists.

Can my employer require me to return to work before I exhaust my leave?

Subject to certain limitations, your employer may deny the continuation of FMLA leave due to a serious health condition if you fail to fulfill any obligations to provide supporting medical certification. The employer may not, however, require you to return to work early by offering you a light duty assignment.

Can my employer make inquiries about my leave during my absence?

Yes, but only to you.

Your employer may ask you questions to confirm whether the leave needed or being taken qualifies for FMLA purposes, and may require periodic reports on your status and intent to return to work. Also, if the employer wishes to obtain another opinion, you may be required to obtain additional medical certification at the employer's expense, or rectification during a period of FMLA leave.

The employer may have a specific health care provider contact your health care provider, with your permission, to clarify information in the medical certification or to confirm that it was provided by the health care provider. The inquiry may not seek additional information regarding your health condition or that of a family member.

Can my employer refuse to grant me FMLA leave?

If you are an eligible employee who has met the FMLA notice and certification requirements (and you have not exhausted your FMLA leave entitlement for the year), you may not be denied FMLA leave.

Are there any restrictions on how I spend my time while on leave?

Employers with established policies regarding outside employment while on paid or unpaid leave may uniformly apply those policies to employees on FMLA leave. Otherwise, the employer may not restrict your activities.

The protections of FMLA will not, however, cover situations where the reason for leave no longer exists, where the employee has not provided required notices or certifications, or where the employee has misrepresented the reason for leave.

How much leave may a husband and wife take if they are employed by the same employer?

A husband and wife who are eligible for FMLA leave and are employed by the same covered employer may be limited to a combined total of 12 weeks of leave during any 12-month period if the leave is taken for the birth or adoption of the employee's son or daughter or to care for the child after birth; for the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care, or to care for the child after placement; or to care for the employee's parent with a serious health condition.

If one spouse is ineligible for FMLA leave, the other spouse would be entitled to a full 12 weeks of FMLA leave.

Where the husband and wife both use a portion of the total 12-week FMLA leave entitlement for one of the purposes above, the husband and wife would each be entitled to the difference between the amount he or she has taken individually and 12 weeks for FMLA leave for a purpose other than those listed above.

For example, if each spouse took six weeks of leave to care for a healthy, newborn child, each could use an additional six weeks due to his or her own serious health condition or to care for a child with a serious health condition.

For additional information on the Family and Medical Leave Act, review Administrative Regulation 4.3 and visit the US Department of Labor.

Contact Information:

Human Resources
City of Richmond
900 E. Broad St., Suite 902
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Phone: (804)646-5660
Fax: (804)646-6856
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