Carmel council to consider COVID-19 leave time for city employees

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The Carmel City Council has added an ordinance to the agenda for its March 16 meeting that provides paid leave time for city employees directly affected by the new coronavirus, which leads to the COVID-19 disease.

If approved, COVID-19 leave would be available for civilian city employees who have been exposed to the disease, been directed to self-quarantine or must provide care for school-age children whose campuses or daycare facilities are closed because of the outbreak.

Full-time employees would initially have a COVID-19 leave bank of 75 hours, while part-time employees would receive 60 hours. Seasonal and temporary employees are not eligible.

The ordinance does not apply to employees of the police and fire departments, which are creating their own COVID-19 policies.

Employees may be eligible to use COVID-19 leave if they or a member of their household have tested positive for the disease or are showing symptoms after being in contact with someone diagnosed with it or have recently returned from a foreign nation experiencing an outbreak and been asked to self-quarantine. Employees at higher risk for severe complications – such as those older than 65 or with a compromised immune system – may also request COVID-19 leave.

Unless an employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19, he or she must remain on call during regularly scheduled work hours and be available to supervisors by phone or email. Responsibilities that can be performed off-site are expected to be completed.

The ordinance also states that those who speculate and spread unsubstantiated rumors as to whether a certain employee is on COVID-19 leave could be subject to disciplinary actions.

If the ordinance is approved, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard will have sole discretion in determining if and when it goes into effect and how long the provisions will last.

The city council will meet at 6 p.m. at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public, but attendance will be capped at 50 people, including councilors and city staff. Residents are encouraged to stay home and watch the meeting live online at http://24.106.156.30/cablecastapi/live?channel_id=1&use_cdn=false/

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