County employees to get hazard pay for working during pandemic

County employees to get hazard pay for working during pandemic

Three unions reach agreements to compensate employees who are reporting to job sites

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Montgomery County employees who are not teleworking during the coronavirus pandemic will get additional pay for working in county buildings or in the community.

Three unions — the International Association of Fire Fighters (Local 1664), the Fraternal Order of Police (Lodge 35) and the United Food and Commercial Workers (Local 1994) or MCGEO — announced the agreements on Wednesday.

Any employees who are teleworking or on paid administrative leave will not receive additional pay.

According to the agreements, employees represented by IAFF and FOP will receive an additional $10 per hour for working in person.

Employees represented by MCGEO will receive different hazard pay depending on whether they interact with the public.

Those whose work involves physical interaction with the public and can’t be performed within social distancing measures will receive an additional $10 per hour.

Back-office staff, who do not have regular physical interaction with the public, will receive an additional $3 per hour.

The MCGEO agreement was posted online. A copy of the IAFF and FOP agreements were obtained by Bethesda Beat.

Employees represented by MCGEO and FOP who were required to work on site between March 22 and 28 will also receive one week off.

Employees part of the FOP will also receive additional time off if the county implements a one-time schedule change during the public health emergency.

If union members must have a three-week notice of a schedule change, they will receive an additional 45 hours off. If they are required to have a one-week notice, they will receive an additional 15 hours off.

IAFF-represented employees will receive an additional 40 to 48 hours off, depending on where they were assigned during the same time period.

High-risk employees who can’t telework but don’t feel safe working — ,or those who live with high-risk family members — can choose administrative leave. Any employees who have coronavirus symptoms and are told to quarantine will get administrative leave for the isolation period.

Additional pay in six pay periods ending June 20, or until Maryland’s state of emergency is lifted, is included in the agreements. At the end of the six pay periods, the agreements will be revisited if the state of emergency is still in effect.

Andrew Kleine, the chief administrative officer for Montgomery County, wrote in an April 5 letter to the county’s directors and managers that the differential pay recognizes the unusual risks employees take when working outside their homes.

The county will provide masks to employees if they don’t have them, Kleine wrote.

“It will help us maintain needed staffing levels, but is not enough to assure our employees’ trust and confidence,” he wrote. “We must remain vigilant in protecting employee health and safety.”

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at briana.adhikusuma@bethesdamagazine.com.

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