It will cover times when they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
Frederick, Md (KM) Just like other Frederick City employees, police officers will be getting hazardous pay. The Board of Aldermen last week approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Fraternal Order of Police Francis Scott Key Lodge #91. It provides this type of compensation to officers who may have come into contact with COVID-19 in the performance of their duties.
“As hazard pay related to the COVID-19 response is not addressed in the current collective bargaining agreement with the FOP, the MOU before you extends the ability to offer hazard pay to sworn officer,” says Karen Paulson, the city’s Director of Human Resources.
She says this additional compensation is $2.50 per hour, and covers times where an officer may interact with the public without the ability to maintain social distancing; handle contaminated materials, including but not limited to garbage and human waste; working closely with outside vendors and are unable to maintain appropriate physical distancing; and unable to physically distance themselves from other officers or the public.
Paulson says the hazard pay is retroactive to July 1st, 2020. But it won’t cover all duties conducted by police officers. “Going back to July 1st is the challenge. And we’re working with the department to try to recreate and determine what hours would be eligible for payment,” she says. “But they do have until that November 27th pay period to get everyone caught up as far as the retro goes.”
Hazard pay will be paid out no later than November 27th, according to the MOU.
Alderman Ben MacShane noted that the Human Resources Department will have quite a task ahead when it comes to determining when officers will be receiving hazardous pay. “That’s sounds like an arduous process,” he said. “I don’t envy you and our staff to go back and parse those; or even to track that and make that difficult decision moving forward,” he said.
The money to provide the hazard pay comes from the federal CARES Act, which is administered by the County. However, Mayor Michael O’Connor says he doesn’t think the county will veto the city’s efforts to use the CARES money to fund hazard pay for police officers. “Certainly, we’re hoping that there’s additional relief dollars that will flow directly to local governments frankly with fewer strings attached to it broadly. Not just for our benefit, for the county’s benefit and the state’s benefit as well,” he says.
There has been discussions in Washington about a second stimulus bill, but nothing has come forward from Congress.
By Kevin McManus