Hazard pay proposed for Jackson Health System workers
Jackson Health System employees working near confirmed or suspected Covid-19 cases may get a pay boost for risking their wellbeing if a county resolution passes.
Commissioner Barbara Jordan’s item would direct Jackson to negotiate with “the appropriate collective bargaining units” to give hospital workers at risk of infection an extra $7.50 hourly “hazardous duty pay supplement.”
County commissioners are to take up the item for preliminary review today (5/7) in Chairwoman Audrey Edmonson’s policy council. A final vote is tentatively June 2.
While Jackson must comply with county commission healthcare policies and directives, the commission must cover costs if a policy or directive financially impacts the nonprofit hospital system.
Money for the pay supplement, to go to qualifying Jackson staff for work between March 1 and June 30, would come from the current county budget and “all other legally available sources, including but not limited to state, federal and non-governmental organization funds and grants,” the item says.
Ms. Jordan’s item also provides for continued bonuses in “a future surge or recurrence of the current Covid-19 pandemic,” directing Mayor Carlos Giménez to cut spending elsewhere to cover costs in the short term and, if necessary, to include them in next year’s county budget.
Further, the item would direct the mayor to report by mid-July what fund sources will be used, any needed reductions in spending and any additional commission action necessary to enact the hazard pay.
Jackson has maintained about 165 positive patients in its beds and is observing 50 to 70 “under investigation” for having the virus, CEO Carlos Migoya said last month.
“At best, we will see Jackson being able to get back to what the new normal will be … in June,” he said. “But I believe April and May will still be very ugly months.”