Riviera Beach city employees get 100% pay, regardless of hours worked during coronavirus pandemic

'We wanted to be generous as an employer'
Posted at 9:15 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 08:01:06-04

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — City employees in Riviera Beach are being paid to stay safe, and stay home.

“The intent behind it was to show that our employees are valued differently than other agencies, and they are the most valuable commodity that we have,” said City Manager Jonathan Evans.

With the help of city officials, Evans put a new pandemic pay policy in place. It is inspired by the coronavirus pandemic and ensures all employees are getting at least their full rate, no matter how many hours they work.

“We wanted to be generous as an employer because we know that we are going to have to rebound and provide service in a different form in a different fashion,” said Evans.

In short, full-time employees will get 100 percent pay, even if they only work one or two days a week. Part-time employees also get paid their normal hourly pay.

That means crossing-guards who are currently out of work still get compensated, and employees who work one day a week during the pandemic are still getting paid for five days a week.

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Union employees, like police officers, will still get overtime after 40 hours, but the policy also includes paying managers, like Evans, time and a half during the entire pandemic.

“Myself and the department directors and everyone in the management group,” said Evans. “It is a total of about 70 employees. We modeled this after an existing policy,” said Evans.

That policy, according to a city memo, was a FEMApayment plan from 2005: the same one the city has used every hurricane since then. However, the FEMA plan did not include paying part-time employees.

“We are still looking at other ways to possibly come back and address some of the concerns that employees have articulated,” said Evans, like additional comped time for first responders or a stipend. “We are also having conversations with other municipalities to see what they are doing, so nothing is off the table.”

According to the memo sent to city officials, the town of Jupiter appears to be the only other local offering similar benefits.

According to that same memo, about only half of city employees are currently working 40 plus hours or more during a given workweek.

In total, Riviera Beach taxpayers will pay out more than 24,000 hours for employees to remain safely at home.

Riviera Beach is now sending a message to their employees that they are a priority during the coronavirus pandemic. “When we crafted the policy it was with the purest of intentions,” said Evans. “The intent was to keep individuals on paid status as long as possible.”