COVID-19, News

State employees association seeks hazard pay as COVID-19 emergency drags on

The State Employees Association of North Carolina is pressing Gov. Roy Cooper, House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Phil Berger to approve hazard pay for those state workers who are deemed mandatory yet are unable to practice social distancing.

In an open letter, SEANC Executive Director Ardis Watkins writes the time-and-a-half compensation should be put in place for the duration of the the crisis:

In North Carolina, hazard pay for our state employees should cover, at a minimum, workers within the walls of our state prisons, workers at state mental health and drug treatment facilities, parole and probation officers, the State Highway Patrol and workers in the unemployment section of the Employment Security Commission. Additionally, workers in these essential jobs should be provided special sick leave that won’t count against their normal sick leave if they are infected with COVID-19 on the job. We ask Senator Berger and Speaker Moore to commit to sending Governor Cooper a clean appropriations bill covering the costs associated with these measures as soon as the legislature returns to session.

Second, we encourage Governor Cooper, Senator Berger and Speaker Moore to work together to allow all non-essential state government workers to work from home for the duration of the emergency, to limit the risk of public contagion and to ensure non-essential government functions are maintained. We continue to hear reports from our members that departments and supervisors are prohibiting state workers from working from home, continuing to require non-essential state workers who could work from home to come into workplaces where social distancing is impossible. This creates an unacceptable risk of COVID-19 transmission within the state government workforce. Worse, this policy creates a serious risk to public health and exacerbates the impending hospital bed shortage by facilitating additional community transmission of COVID-19 across the state.

Read the full letter to lawmakers here.


  1. Rhonda Sherfy

    April 8, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    My husband works as a maintenace director at a lenoir county facility. The maintenance works along with him are required to screen employees also, so please do not forget the maintenance departments. Everyone counts.

  2. Diana Pittman

    April 8, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    I am a manager of a ABC Store, we didn’t get any help getting the necessary protection. We are not wearing mask because we now can’t find any. No one cares that we are unprotected. We just this week starting getting gloves, wipes and spray. We are doing what we can and still selling liquor. Would be nice to know we are appreciated. Big portion of sells goes to the county and state. Hazardous pay would be a big help to us…or our families if we get sick and can’t work. Liquor sales are soaring !!

  3. Terry Wilson

    April 9, 2020 at 12:32 am

    What about the social worker’s they are still going out into the field into people’s houses and are in close contact with the public all day

  4. Tina

    April 9, 2020 at 4:48 am

    I work in public school system an can’t work from home are we going to get anything?

  5. Ashley S.

    April 9, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    I work at a state psychiatric hospital as a social worker. Currently we are not even allowed to telework for any amount, or to stagger our schedules with other social workers to allow less time exposed. Many of our job duties we could perform from home with simply a phone and accessing a computer. Our offices are shared with others and on Patient care units where we are not able to social distance. We need safer working conditions and hazard pay. The hospital made ALL employees “essential” several weeks ago, when in fact many employees could telework effectively if given the permission.

    We WANT to work, we just want to feel safe and that our voices are being heard.

  6. Tammy Quinn

    April 9, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    Need to pay the hospital employees that work too. The governor needs to look at this!


    April 10, 2020 at 4:13 am

    I think NC goverment should give us all essential workers hazard pay , a bonus or even an extra $2 EXTRA A HOUR for hours worked in this time frame. I work in a community hospital, first hours were cut and now we work with limited supplies but we all still come to work with the risk of getting it and giving it to our own family. These are jobs that can not be cut, these jobs keep us all going and yes. Hazard pay should be on the to do list.

  8. Louise

    April 12, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    The DMV call center employees were changed to essential employees well after covid-19 had already hit. There is no way for us to be 6 feet apart in our cubicles or if we go to use the restroom. We are getting no hazard pay or bonuses for putting our lives at risk and there are numerous people working that have underlying health issues.

  9. TRACY D King

    April 13, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    Uncc security guards and campus police should recieve hazard pay.The security guards didnt recieve any pay raises.Yet we are still coming to work with contact with students still on campus being their friends in housing areas.

  10. Rhonda

    April 13, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    I am also an ABC store employee and I have showed up for work every day!..I am very grateful to be working first of all but I also feel we should get some sort of extra pay !..The customers that come in are not always taking precautions like they should be and also come in telling us that someone close to them has been infected or they are coughing and asking what we have for a cold!!!!..Pure ignorance I know but all we can do is serve them and pray that they aren’t sick…I think we should be considered in the hazard pay just like the grocery clerks and other essential employees!…Just my 2 cents!

  11. Derrick Gates

    April 16, 2020 at 3:06 am

    So the State of North Carolina is giving campus police (UNCA) overtime on top of their regular time because of covid 19, but not to other state police jobs? Is that right? They are getting overtime for sitting on an empty school campus. What is the deal?

  12. Thon S.

    April 27, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    I work in one of the biggest food chain business and we all are risking our necks to come back and forth to work with only a few people tested positive (reasons possibly made contact outside of work) in our company and of course we are taking big measures to keep people safe here with great protocols that prevents infections thru out the plant. We supply all grocery stores and retail to sell our foods and snacks which supports all the families out there who are snacking on the go or eating canned soups and all. Are we getting anything? Especially when a company is approved to stay open because it’s an essential business.

  13. Will

    April 28, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    I work for masterbrand cabinets in Kinston NC told us that corporate denied Hazard paid for us they gave employees two weeks off without pay you have to use your paid time off to get a check people are standing closer than 6 feet and a huddle meeting every morning. so either we come to work with the risk of getting sick and dying or we are fired and not have a job and I got five kids in my house what can we do

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