Wheeling Extends COVID-19 Sick Depart Program

Lauren Barry

Wheeling Village Hall, 2 Community Blvd.

Wheeling Village employees will continue to be entitled to emergency paid leave through March 31st, as required by federal First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The village trustees approved an extension of paid sickness benefits on January 4 for all employees who missed 80 hours – approximately 10 working days – of vacation for absences included in legislation related to COVID-19.

FFCRA was passed in March shortly after the World Health Organization identified the COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic. In addition to paid sick leave, FFCRA also expands the law on family and medical leave.

Although the FFCRA expired in late December, another federal COVID-19 relief bill passed shortly before the start of the year gave employers the option to continue providing sickness benefits until the end of March. Some employers are eligible for tax credits when they renew the program. As a public (tax-financed) employer, Wheeling is not entitled to tax credits, according to a memorandum from village attorney James Ferolo.

“Employees believe that extending the EPSL process will help avoid instances where employees may choose to come to work when they shouldn’t,” said Ferolo.

Typical annual sick days for Wheeling employees are between 96 and 144 hours, according to the village’s 2021 salary and performance report.

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