Eric Stuckey on COVID pay

Franklin Mayor Ken Moore and aldermen unanimously determined Tuesday that COVID pay is to be reinstated for city employees.

The City of Franklin defines its COVID pay as a supplement to the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act for employees whom city staff directed to quarantine or isolate, those confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 or those with childcare challenges due to pandemic regulations.

Tuesday’s vote authorizes paid leave only for employees who test positive for the virus, and the resolution acts retroactively, going back as far as Aug. 1 and extends to Dec. 31, 2021.

The city originally had this policy in place for employees who fit all the aforementioned descriptions last year and ended it on March 31, 2021, but the board cited an increase in positive COVID cases for the Delta variant as reason enough to reinstate the policy.

Aug. 1 was the earliest date chosen because the city reports 20 employees testing positive since then. With COVID pay back on the table for the rest of the year, part-time and full-time employees that test positive receive their normal base pay rate for up to 10 days or their bi-weekly rate while absent.

“I think it’s just a smart move through the balance of the year, and then we can revisit it just like we did earlier this year,” Franklin City Administrator Eric Stuckey explained. “We had it through March and then ended it, and now activity in numbers have warranted putting it in place as a safeguard through the balance of the year. […] It’s solely for folks who have tested positive.”

The funding in the American Rescue Plan also affords the city an opportunity to reimburse itself for these expenditures to mitigate financial impact, but Stuckey predicts that the impact will be minimal regardless.