The need for a district-level paid leave program is the result of the expiration of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The act expired Dec. 31 and was not extended by Congress. First passed in March 2020, the program allowed employees to take sick leave for issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We feel that this would help protect our CISD employees and give them peace of mind if they have to be quarantined for any reason due to COVID-19 or if they should fall ill themselves,” said Lauren Wurman, CISD executive director of personnel services.
The first of two resolutions approved by the board authorizes the district to provide additional paid leave for all contractual and noncontractual, salaried and nonsalaried employees at their regular rate of pay. The district is now able to provide up to a maximum of $500 per day for employees who are sick or in isolation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second resolution allows the district to give additional paid leave to all employees who are unable to report for work because of a need to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to the pandemic. The duration of the additional leave is a maximum of 10 days. Employees will be paid at their regular rate of pay, not to exceed $500 per day, if they are instructed to not report for work. If a CISD employee is unable to report to work, they will be paid at two-thirds their regular rate of pay in an amount not to exceed $200 per day.
The idea for a local extension was presented to the board Dec. 14 due to a district need to recruit more substitute teachers to help manage classrooms due to staff absences.
During the fall 2020 semester, the district spent approximately $170,500 on absences under FFCRA. Wurman said the district expects to spend an additional $250,000 to maintain employee salaries, which does not include potential substitute costs.