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Hawaii News Now, March 14 2022, City Workers exposed to COVID face deadline for seeking hazardous duty pay

March 14, 2022

City employees face a Friday deadline to apply for hazardous duty pay if they were exposed to COVID-19.

Under their union contract, some city employees ― like lifeguards and Board of Water Supply employees ― can be eligible for a 15 or 25% pay boost for COVID-related hazard pay. But Honolulu firefighters and police have separate hazard pay rules that don’t include exposure to COVID.

“The City and County determined upfront they recognized that COVID-19 is a hazard,” said Randy Perreira, executive director of the Hawaii Government Employees Association.

“They’re now accepting claims from individual employees to determine what level of exposure (they) may have had.”

One Board of Water supply employee said he and some of his co-workers should be eligible because there have been clusters at the office and they have had plenty of public contact.

“If you’re reading a meter, many, many, many times nobody wore masks,” said BWS investigator Korky Gallagher. “When they came out to us, we had to actually get in our cars and leave.”

Honolulu has given workers who think they’ve been exposed until this Friday to fill out an application.

Other counties have taken different approaches. On Maui, for example, an arbitrator recently overturned the county’s argument that no workers were at risk to COVID.

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