City of North Charleston employees could get up to $ 5,000 each in COVID-19 bonuses | New
NORTH CHARLESTON – The city is considering bonuses for hundreds of its employees who worked during the pandemic.
North Charleston’s finance committee has approved spending about $ 4.5 million of its recently received pandemic relief funds in bonuses that average about $ 4,000 per employee. Some staff could see up to $ 5,000.
The final decision will be made to city council on June 24.
The bonuses are well deserved for the city’s essential workers, said City Councilor Ron Brinson.
“Our employees introduced themselves,” he said. “They never complained.”
North Charleston begins talks on how to spend $ 12 million in pandemic relief funds
Most of the money comes from the $ 12 million North Charleston received in its first installment of the American Rescue Plan, which allows cities to offer a salary bonus to employees who worked during the emergency. public health.
There are limits. Salary cannot increase an employee’s annual salary 150 percent above the state or county average annual salary for all occupations. The Charleston County average annual salary is $ 50,810, which places a limit of $ 76,215 on North Charleston employees on bonuses.
The mayor recommends up to $ 5,000 in payments for those subject to the $ 76,215 limit, depending on the hours worked during the crisis.
Eligible employees above the limit will receive up to $ 1,000 each. This money, which totals approximately $ 100,000, will come from the city’s general fund.
“We just didn’t think it was fair enough for someone who is slightly above that threshold, but who nevertheless came to work and contributed,” said Brinson.
While North Charleston is booming with new apartments, many residents unaffordable for the average
According to federal guidelines, the money can be returned to those who have performed essential work, which involves “regular in-person interactions or regular physical handling of items that have also been handled by others.”
“This opens up a wide category,” said city chief financial officer Warren Newton.
The envisaged 12 month salary period is from February 2020 to January. 2021.
Ninety-one percent, or 872, of the 961 employees who were active during that period are expected to receive an average bonus of $ 4,000 each.
In addition to first responders and remediation personnel, office workers who have shown up for work will also be eligible for the bonuses.
This will be the second time that North Charleston has offered extra cash to those who have worked despite high health risks.
As the pandemic spread across South Carolina last year, the city offered a risk premium to firefighters, police and sanitation workers.
“We had staff who had to work and who could potentially be exposed,” Newton said.
Brinson praised the mayor and city council for the way they handled the city’s finances, which suffered a monthly loss of $ 1.5 million to $ 2 million during the health crisis. To mitigate the losses, the city laid off part-time workers, instituted a hiring freeze and did not implement increases to its 2020 budget.
Although the pandemic is not over, the city is starting to recover financially, Brinson said.
“It’s because we’ve taken a very disciplined approach,” he said.
If approved, the premium payment will be spread over five separate pay periods, with the first payment starting July 29.
After halting pay increases last year, North Charleston is considering pay increases in $ 124 million budget
Reach Rickey dennis at 937-4886. Follow him on Twitter @RCDJunior.