MOREHEAD CITY — Anticipating more employees will need to take advantage of COVID-19 sick leave and pay policies as positive cases continue to rise, the Morehead City Council decided to extend those policies beyond their end-of-year expiration date into 2021.
Under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the city must provide emergency paid sick leave to employees who are out of work for coronavirus-related reasons. Those provisions were set to expire Thursday, Dec. 31, but the city council’s action, which came during its Dec. 8 regular meeting, extends the expiration date to Thursday, April 15.
Morehead City Human Resources Director Susan Nixon informed the council nearly one-third of the city’s workforce, 46 employees as of Dec. 2, had been out of work at some point since early April for coronavirus reasons, including some who contracted the virus. Based on trends showing increasing case numbers, Ms. Nixon said she expects more employees will get sick and require time off past the expiration date for federal sick leave benefits.
“The potential for 120 to 130 more employees to be out (sick) is pretty great,” she said.
The council seemed to agree with Ms. Nixon’s assessment and voted unanimously to approve two personnel policy amendments. The first amendment extends the deadline for emergency paid sick leave to April 15, and the second amendment increases the maximum number of compensatory overtime hours from 48 to 120 hours.
In other business at the Dec. 8 meeting, the city council voted to give all employees a $50 holiday bonus added onto their paychecks in lieu of a staff holiday luncheon this year. The city canceled the yearly event because of the coronavirus, and the council suggested the funds that would normally be spent on the luncheon go back to employees.
The council also adopted the consent agenda for its December meeting, which included the following items:
- Approved the minutes of the Oct. 13 regular council meeting, Nov. 3 council workshop and Nov. 10 regular meeting.
- Accepted the finance director report and tax collector’s report, accepted notice of tax overpayments in the amount of $577.01 for the month of November and approved requests for refunds of overpayments in the amount of $2,821.34 for November.
- Adopted budget ordinance amendment 2020-24 and governmental capital project budget ordinance amendment 2020-25.
- Adopted the 2021 city council meeting schedule.
- Approved annual certification of firemen for 2020 for the N.C. State Firefighter’s Association.
- Adopted resolution 2020-R-57 setting the date of the public hearing for a voluntary contiguous annexation request for 301 Highway 24 for Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 5:30 p.m.
- Reappointed Councilman Bill Taylor as the city’s representative to the Eastern Carolina Council.
- Approved ECC’s proposal for N.C. General Statute Chapter 160D compliance assistance.
- Approved amendment to agreement for purchase of 706 Arendell St.
- Awarded Evans Street sewer replacement bid to KBS Construction Co. LLC in the amount of $186,610.
Contact Elise Clouser at email@example.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.