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Apr 01

City manager's message: Coronavirus Updates & New Federal Leave Benefits

Posted on April 1, 2020 at 5:23 PM by Don Mann

I am writing to give you important updates on the coronavirus pandemic; federal and state actions; and our local response. I apologize in advance for the length of the post, but there are many important updates that I am sure will be of interest to you.

First, I want to assure you that the Emergency Management team and I are in daily contact with the Virginia Department of Health officials. This enables us to stay current with best health professional guidance and base our actions on data/science.

Second, our commitment remains to keep our permanent full-time, permanent part-time and regularly scheduled WAEs employed doing meaningful work throughout the pandemic crisis. You have likely heard reports of other cities enacting furloughs of some parts of their workforce, and this may have added to your stress. I want to assure you that we have no such plans here in Hampton. We recognize that we have a very talented team of professionals in each of our departments. We may not be the highest paid locality, but we can, and do, take care of our people in tough times. Those of you who were here during the recession know that Hampton never furloughed employees then, and as long as the national and state governments allow us to stay open, we do not intend to furlough this time either.

That brings me to the Governor’s orders. Some people have asked what his most recent “stay at home” order means for employees. The Governor’s orders clearly stipulate that nothing in his orders are intended to limit the operation of government. Thus, the Governor’s order does not change anything your department heads or I have communicated to you. We are teleworking where we can and physically distancing employees either in the office or field where we cannot. That effort will continue. As we continue to work in this fashion, please know that we have also initiated stepped-up cleaning/sanitizing protocols within city buildings. Employees who do not feel comfortable coming in to work in these conditions can exercise liberal leave option (assuming they are not essential personnel) which remains in effect.

Speaking of leave, the federal government has enacted new leave options specifically related to the COVID-19 crisis. I am attaching the Personnel Administrative Instruction (PAI) that outlines the City’s implementation of these new benefits. Your department heads have been fully briefed on these policies, and Human Resources stands ready to assist in the administration of these leave options should you meet the criteria for them. I encourage you to read the material contained in this PAI fully, and ask any questions you might have through the HR department. A high-level summary of the new leave follows. Please note that this leave supersedes the previously announced COVID-19 leave the City initiated on its own a couple of weeks ago. Department heads will be posting the required notice beside their current employment law poster.

COVID-19 LEAVE BENEFITS SUMMARY April 1, 2020 — December 31, 2020

COVID-19 SICK Leave Benefits

Qualifying Reason

Eligible Employees

One-Time Leave Benefit

  1. Subject to a Federal, State or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19

Permanent full-time (PFT),

Permanent part-time (PPT)

When Actually Employed (WAE)

PFT: Up to 14 calendar days

PPT and WAE: Normally scheduled work hours over a 14  calendar day period

 

  1. Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19

PFT, PPT, WAE

PFT: Up to 14 calendar days

PPT and WAE: Normally scheduled work hours over a 14  calendar day period

 

  1. Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis

PFT, PPT, WAE

PFT: Up to 14 calendar days

PPT and WAE: Normally scheduled work hours over a 14  calendar day period

 

  1. Caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine (2)

PFT, PPT, WAE with the exception of emergency responders as defined in the Addendum of the PAI

PFT: Up to 14 calendar days at 2/3 pay

PPT and WAE: Normally scheduled work hours over a 14  calendar day period at 2/3 pay

  1. Caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons

PFT, PPT, WAE with the exception of emergency responders as defined in the Addendum of the PAI

PFT: Up to 14 calendar days at 2/3 pay

PPT and WAE: Normally scheduled work hours over a 14  calendar day period at 2/3 pay

  1. Experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

PFT, PPT, WAE with the exception of emergency responders as defined in the Addendum of the PAI

PFT: Up to 14 calendar days at 2/3 pay

PPT and WAE: Normally scheduled work hours over a 14  calendar day period at 2/3 pay

 

COVID-19 CHILDCARE Benefits

Qualifying Reason

Eligible Employees

Leave Benefit

  1. Unable to work or telework because to care for a child under age 18 years of age or over 18 years of age if disabled, due to the closure of the child's school or child care provider caused by COVID-19 

PFT, PPT, WAE, employed for 30 days; with the exception of emergency responders as defined in the Addendum of the PAI

PFT: Up to 12 weeks with first 10 work days (2 weeks) unpaid, with the remaining 10 weeks at 2/3 pay


I want to again thank you all for your ongoing dedication and commitment to fantastic public service. In case you are unaware, we have done several Facebook Live sessions over the last couple of weeks. In those, we have highlighted your collective efforts and the public has overwhelmingly indicated their gratitude for all you do! As I said last week, this is a marathon — not a sprint — but it is a race we will get through together!

— Mary


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