The Journal Gazette
Thursday, May 21, 2020 1:20 pm

Some Allen County employees to receive 'pandemic pay'

Dave Gong | The Journal Gazette

Some Allen County employees will receive additional pay for work performed while government buildings were closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, following approval today from the Allen County Council.

In a 6-1 vote, council approved two salary ordinances providing supplemental pandemic pay to some county workers and a bonus for salaried Allen County Department of Health employees who have been working long hours responding to the pandemic.

The Allen County Commissioners approved the policy in April.

The supplemental pandemic pay would be available for employees who have been working and have had frequent direct physical contact with individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 symptoms or those who are seeking diagnosis, County HR Director Charity Murphy said. The policy also applies to county workers who are in regular, unavoidable contact with the public or are working in 24-hour operations that deal with the public for the majority of their shift.

Eligible employees will receive an additional $2.50 per hour for time worked between March 16 and May 17. Those funds will be paid out as a single lump-sum bonus, Murphy said, adding the exact amount would depend on the number of hours an employee worked during that period.

It's hard to give a clear-cut estimate for how much the policy will cost the county, Murphy said, because department heads might identify additional employees who they think qualify for additional pay.

When prompted by Councilman Tom Harris, R-2nd, Murphy said she estimates the policy will cost about $32,000 for the Youth Services Center; $56,700 for sworn officers at the Allen County Sheriff's Office; $126,000 for confinement officers at the Allen County Jail; $77,400 for Allen County Juvenile Center workers; and $10,000 for Health Department employees.

Allen Superior Judge Andrea Trevino supported the policy and noted that "a large portion" of the county's workforce had to be at work, facing risks and helping officials create better policy for when county buildings reopened to the public and as other employees return to their jobs.

"Myself, the sheriff and numerous other departments, who aren't here but who may make claims under this, had folks working every minute, working in these circumstances and going home to their families who are probably just as scared to have them home," she said, adding the policy is a small gesture to county workers in appreciation of their service.

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