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.