HC leaders approve changes to employee leave

Published 5:21 pm Friday, April 10, 2020

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WINTON – Hertford County local government has made temporary changes in a policy to address sick leave and family leave of its non-contracted employees due to COVID-19 related reasons.

At their scheduled meeting on April 6, the county’s Board of Commissioners, following a presentation made in closed session by county attorney Charles “Chuck” Revelle, returned to open session and voted in favor of adjusting its sick leave policy to bring it in accordance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The approved policy includes:

Eighty (80) hours of paid sick leave for full time employees who are sick (meaning they are unable to work in a county office or telework from home) related to COVID-19. That means the individual is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine; or are advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine; or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or caring for an individual that is subject to the order of a quarantine; or caring for the employee’s son or daughter because the child’s school is closed and/or their regular caregiver is unavailable for a COVID-19 related reason.

The revised policy states that the county will replace all the employee’s wages up to a maximum of $511 per day (not to exceed $5,110 per employee) if they are personally sick, under quarantine, or seeking diagnosis.

If the employee’s absence from work is necessitated by caring for others, the county will replace two-thirds of their salary (a maximum of $200 per day; not to exceed $2,000).

As for the county’s part-time employees, they are entitled to be paid COVID-19 related sick leave on a pro rata basis, which is calculated based upon the number of hours they work on average every two weeks.

As to the revised COVID-19 family leave policy, there will be 12 weeks of paid leave for employees (those on the county’s payroll for at least 30 days), to care for a minor child due to the closure of the child’s school or if the child’s regular childcare provider is unavailable due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

There are a few stipulations to the revised family leave policy:

The first 10 days are unpaid; however, an employee can choose to utilize paid sick leave under this policy, or any other accrued but unused sick leave or other paid time off, to offset the first 10 unpaid days;

This leave will replace at least two-thirds of the employee’s wages up to a maximum of $200 per day (not to exceed $10,000 per employee); and

Part-time employees are eligible on a pro rata basis, calculated based on the average number of hours worked during the previous six months before taking the family leave.

Employees are required to request leave as listed in this policy and will have to notate the time off used under this policy on a revised timesheet.

This FFCRA policy became effective April 2 and expires on Dec. 31 of this year, unless extended.

Pursuant to Section 3105 of the FFCRA, COVID-19 Family Leave is not available to Hertford County EMS personnel or law enforcement officers.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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