Denison City Council will be considering a resolution that will exclude emergency responders from receiving additional family and medical leave amid the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.
The resolution to be considered during Monday’s 6 p.m. meeting would exclude emergency personnel as “eligible employees” under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
“Allowing these employees to claim leave under the act would handicap operations and would create a greater crisis than currently exists,” documents for Monday’s meeting said.
On March 18, President Donald Trump signed into law the FFCRA into law, effectively creating the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. The acts include language that allow government employers to exclude emergency responders from these benefits.
With regard to Denison, emergency responders include law enforcement officers, fire fighters, emergency medical services personnel, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency management personnel, 911 operators, public works personnel and “persons with skills of training in operating specialized equipment or other skills needed to provide aid in a declared emergency.”
“Staff recommends excluding emergency responders ... in order to maintain staffing levels to ensure continuity of essential operations during a public health emergency for the protection, safety and general welfare of the public,” the city said in meeting documents.
Monday’s meeting will be held via teleconference. The public can access the meeting via phone by calling 1-866-899-4679 and entering access code 992-905-045. Members of the public may also attend by visiting https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/992905045.
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at email@example.com.