News & Opinion » News

Bello proposes 10-20% 'hazard pay' for Monroe County workers

by

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello has asked the county Legislature to authorize temporary “hazard pay” wage increases for county employees who are at greater risk of exposure to the coronavirus or have had to work extended hours because of the pandemic.

In legislation submitted Tuesday, Bello singled out workers at Monroe Community Hospital, the Sheriff’s Office, the Greater Rochester International Airport, and employees of the departments of Public Health, Human Services, Environmental Services, Veterans Services, and Public Safety. 
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • Monroe County Executive Adam Bello.


The additional pay would cover increases of between 10 percent and 20 percent for roughly 2,400 employees — about half the county's full- and part-time workforce — retroactive to April 4 and continue through to the end of the state of emergency declared by Bello, according to the legislation.

The increases are projected to cost $542,000 per pay period and would be funded by a $129.4 million federal grant from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to the legislation.

“Every day, thousands of Monroe County employees show up to work on the frontlines of our community’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, putting themselves and their families at risk in order to ensure our loved ones are cared for, the most vulnerable among us are protected, our community remains safe and healthy, and the delivery of critical county services continues," Bello said in a statement issued Wednesday. "These are our child welfare investigators, nurses, sheriff’s deputies and many others to whom we owe a debt of gratitude. I’m grateful that the federal government has provided the funding and guidance necessary, and for the partnership of our county legislators, to allow us to recognize the greater risks they face while continuing to serve our community.”

Legislature President Joseph Carbone, a Republican from Irondequoit, signaled support for the proposal in a statement, saying the Republican majority has been working with the Democratic county executive on the concept of hazard pay.

A special meeting of the Legislature has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 29, to consider the measure and others.

David Andreatta is CITY's editor. He can be reached at dandreatta@rochester-citynews.com.