Birmingham City Council passes hazard pay for first responders

Updated: Apr. 7, 2020 at 5:16 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuesday the Birmingham City Council voted to appropriate $500,000 for hazard and overtime pay for City employees working during the COVID-19 health crisis.

“As a Council we have an obligation to make sure the City’s business can continue despite the public health crisis,” President William Parker said. “We are committed to doing whatever we can to help our first responders and workers who are on the front lines of this public health crisis.”

Here is the breakdown:

In total, 1978 employees and first responders will be included in the allocation.

  • Finance: 29
  • Fire: 607
  • Mayor’s Office: 10
  • Municipal Court: 90
  • Planning Engineering and Permits: 100
  • Police and Corrections: 922
  • Public Works: 220

The funding will be for one month as the City deals with the COVID-19 health crisis. According to the documentation, hazard pay is for employees exposed to “virulent biologicals,” which is defined as “work with or in close proximity to materials of micro-organic nature which when introduced into the body are likely to cause serious disease or fatality and for which protective devises do not afford complete protection.”

As it currently stands that money is not reimbursable. City officials are currently exploring options with additional federal funding in the case that the hazard pay needs to be extended.

“As the city grapples with this public health crisis, our first responders are out on the frontlines protecting the public and responding to calls across the city,” said Councilor Hunter Williams, chair of the Public Safety Committee. “We are committed to doing everything in our power as elected officials to provide them with the protection and resources they need to do their jobs and remain safe during this time.”

Birmingham Police officers and Birmingham firefighters face dangers in their regular jobs every day. But now there is the threat of the coronavirus.

Lt. Richard Haluska said, “A person with the gun, there is a possibility you can talk to them. They have choice. This is something we can’t see. It doesn’t have choice. It doesn’t have rhyme or reason that we know of right now.”

The five percent pay raise is welcomed news for them and other city workers.

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