Board Approves Hazard Pay for Personnel Responding to COVID-19
July 14, 2020 – Marietta, GA – The Cobb County Board of Commissioners voted to give temporary hazard pay for county personnel who came in to provide services to residents while the county was in “Limited Operational Services” during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place.
“This is our way to tell those essential workers that the Board recognizes their efforts,” said County Manager Dr. Jackie McMorris. More than 3100 non-managerial workers will receive a $1,000 bonus for working during the pandemic. They range from public safety workers to water crews to DOT workers to IS personnel.
The county expects more than $1 million of the $3.1 million will be reimbursed by the federal CARES Act, primarily in public safety. But during the consideration of the hazard pay, leaders realized a large segment of county workers could not do their job by telecommuting.
Public Safety Director Randy Crider thanked the board for recognizing employees outside of public safety who were critical to keeping county services running. “A lot of times, rightfully so, a lot of emphasis is put on public safety because many recognize that as a core service of county government,” Crider said. “But there were a lot of other employees in this county that really put themselves in harm’s way at that time that are outside of public safety.”
Cobb County began an Emergency Limited Operational Services period (LOS) on a county-wide basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 18, 2020. At the time, the policy provided only those employees designated as “essential” by their respective department head or elected official would be required to report to their normal work location.
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”). Among other things, the CARES Act provides direct funding to Cobb County for necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic and which were not accounted for in the current budget. The guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department regarding usage of the CARES Grant states an eligible expense is a “payroll expense for public safety…and similar employees whose services are substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency.”