Natrona County extends COVID-related sick go away advantages for workers

By Greg Hirst on January 5, 2021

Natrona County Commission Working Session 1/5/2021 (Oil City Staff)

CASPER, Wyo – The Natrona County Commission has agreed to extend county employee paid sickness benefits through March 31.

The requirement that employers grant paid sick leave and extended family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired on December 31, 2020.

The law, which went into effect April 1, 2020, required certain employers to grant 80 hours of paid sick leave for conditions related to COVID-19. In addition, benefits under the Family and Sick Leave Act (FMLA) have been expanded to allow 10 weeks of paid leave for employees “whose school or care location was closed due to the pandemic or whose childcare provider was not available”.

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Part of the Consolidated Funds Act passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in late December extended employer’s tax credits for paid sick leave but did not extend those benefits to employees. According to the US Department of Labor, employers can choose to do so voluntarily.

Danielle Krucheck, HR manager for the Natrona administrative district, recommended that the administrative commission for the district extend the benefits at a working meeting on the January 5th deadline.

The commission agreed.

“I think we have to,” said new commissioner Dave North. “Everyone around us is doing it, all communities.”

The payment of the benefits would take place from the general budget of the district. As a government entity, no tax credits are allowed.

The commission pointed out that most of the district employees, aside from maintenance staff and certain staff members in the title department, could work from home in the quarantine.

The commission also said that the Casper-Natrona County Health Department had adopted CDC recommendations to change the quarantine length from 14 to 10 days, provided the person is asymptomatic and tests negative for the virus.

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