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Five Urgent Needs To Keep Employees Safe

COVID-19 Emergency UPDATE

SEIU 721 Members to LA County Board of Supervisors:

Five Urgent Needs To Keep Employees Safe

  1. Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and FMLA Emergency Leave

On March 30, the CEO announced in a letter to all County employees that the new emergency leave programs established by the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, EPSL and FMLA Emergency Leave, would be made available to employees on April 1. But the CEO subsequently informed County unions that for the vast majority of employees, access to the emergency leave would be at their Department’s discretion. To make matters worse, Departments have not even received guidance about how to implement the programs.

Many employees – with underlying health conditions or children at home due to school closures – find themselves in desperate circumstances, forced to make “Sophie’s Choices” between their own health and safety, the safety of their children, and the need for continued income for their families. But, so far, not a single County employee has been able to utilize the new leave programs that went into effect on April 1.

Ensure that employees have access to these desperately-needed leave programs as soon as possible.

 

  1. Personal Protective Equipment

SEIU 721 members understand that we are providers of essential services during the COVID-19 emergency, but we legitimately expect to be protected with appropriate equipment while we do our jobs. So far, the County has failed to do its part.

Provide N-95 respirators to frontline health and correctional health workers, as well as masks for workers who, in the course of their jobs, continue to come into close proximity to co-workers and other County residents.

 

  1. Protocols for Confirmed Infections at County Worksites

The County’s response to confirmed incidents of coronavirus infection at County worksites has been inconsistent, and, in some cases inadequate, with the potential for dire consequences. Piecemeal disinfection, partial quarantines, and a lack of transparency have left employees insecure and fearful.

Ensure that all Departments follow appropriate protocols: Notify impacted employees when infections have been detected. Send home immediately to self-isolate those employees who have been potentially exposed. Disinfect and shut down contamination areas long enough to ensure safety. And share Department of Public Health  protocols with all employees.

 

  1. COVID-19 Testing

In County health and correctional facilities, a growing number of workers have been infected with the coronavirus. Without adequate testing, workers will become spreaders of COVID-19. Meanwhile, it is expected that incidents of infections at other County worksites will occur with greater frequency. Testing staff for COVID-19 in buildings where the presence of the coronavirus has been detected would reassure employees and prevent further spread of the virus.

Accelerate efforts to increase testing capacity at all health and correctional health facilities; and develop a plan for the testing of other  County employees at worksites where the presence of coronavirus has been detected.

 

  1. Frontline Responders

Because we deliver essential services, many SEIU 721 members have been denied opportunities to telework, and may be denied access to Emergency Paid Sick Leave and FMLA Emergency Leave as well. It is no substitute for our health and safety, and the safety and well-being of our families, but the least the County could do would be to offer some type of compensation to those who continue to sacrifice but are not allowed to utilize these benefits.

 Compensate fairly employees on the frontlines of essential service delivery.

 

 

Categories: Covid19
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Ani Boghossian
Guest
Ani Boghossian

What a Joke! The County of Los Angeles is bypassing the legitimate concerns, safety and well being of the homefront. Why are you out there as a local government entity representing the rights of your citizens (primarily clients at best) making suggestions and ensuring protocols for safety and economic impacts for the same sector of public, when you can’t extend the same courtesy, humanity and basic employment rights to your own workforce?

Covid
Guest
Covid

I have started self quarantining at home on 4/3. I contacted my supervisor and the admin had called me on 4/3 to confirm. I have since been told to use 011/ qsl as my event code on my time sheet. Does anyone know if I will be paid my full pay?

ANGRY EMPLOYEE
Guest
ANGRY EMPLOYEE

“Ensure that employees have access to these desperately-needed leave programs as soon as possible.” WHEN COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES’ CEO SACHI HAMAI SAYS THERE ARE 2 NEW BENEFITS; EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE AND EMERGENCY FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR USE BEGINNING APRIL 1, 2020..IT NEEDS TO BE AVAILABLE!! AND ALL EMPLOYEES WHO TAKE OFF BEGINNING APRIL 01, 2020 UNDER THE CEO’S GUIDELINES AND BY THE DISCRETION OF SEIU 721’S GUIDANCE NEEDS TO BE COMPENSATED!! ON TIME!! I WANT TO MENTION ON MYLACOUNTY.GOV UNDER THE BENEFITS SECTION THERE IS A DOCUMENT FROM LISA GARRETT, DIRECTOR OF PERSONNEL REGARDING •COVID… Read more »

Joe Helpful
Guest
Joe Helpful

It was passed Federally by the department of labor. We are covered. Take your time off and let them figure out the codes.
https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave

Confused Worker 206
Guest
Confused Worker 206

So the hours show up on our timesheets now (04/09/2020) but we still cannot use them? I’m confused. So “look but don’t touch”…?

Joe Helpful
Guest
Joe Helpful

If the hours are showing up with the codes you can use them. Department of labor approved this act and county said we can use them starting 4/1.

Joe County
Guest
Joe County

Thank you for addressing the concern which was the pink elephant in the room not being addressed: Frontline Responders: Because we deliver essential services, many SEIU 721 members have been denied opportunities to telework, and may be denied access to Emergency Paid Sick Leave and FMLA Emergency Leave as well. It is no substitute for our health and safety, and the safety and well-being of our families, but the least the County could do would be to offer some type of compensation to those who continue to sacrifice but are not allowed to utilize these benefits. Compensate fairly employees on… Read more »

Susie Alvarado
Guest
Susie Alvarado

What is being done about it?

Covid
Guest
Covid

What have I learned about working for LA county ? That private sector is much better and this has been by far the worst job. Very un ethical . Employees lives should be considered first. How can we help other in need if we can not help us first . As workers we should be a priority. I can not be putting my life at risk or the life of my family at risk. I’m so disappointed

Tom Smith
Guest
Tom Smith

DPSS offices are closed to the public, yet telework has not been fully put in place at offices where there are hundreds of employees. DPSS employees do data entry and answer telephone calls all day, so THERE IS NO REASON to not have employees working at home! It’s impossible to practice social distancing guidelines in such a crowded office.

Gina
Guest
Gina

At this late stage in the game, they’re still trying to figure out what the plan is??

Disappointed Worker
Guest
Disappointed Worker

I am incredibly disappointed that the health and welfare of county employees is not a priority to LA County. Most of us can work from home but we are not allowed to do so. Why? We are not offered any type of protective gear or even provided with disinfectant sprays. All must be purchased by the workers! It’s baffling. NO ONE MENTIONS HAZARD PAY. Or some sort of compensation for working during this global pandemic. We are forgotten!

Peter
Guest
Peter

Chinese healthcare works were given very good hazard pay.

Chris
Guest
Chris

That’s a great question!!

Court clerks are getting paid time and a half hazard pay.

Unanimous
Guest
Unanimous

The union needs to work for its members, and ask that we get hazard pay for going to work into an office that does not have hand sanitizer available. We are still working with over 100 people on any given day. DPSS it’s not checking the temperature of the employees showing up to work, which exposes the rest of us. Equal pay for all employees should be secured.

Tom Smith
Guest
Tom Smith

I should add that DPSS in particular and Los Angeles County overall tend to have an older workforce, particularly people in their 50s and 60s. This age group often suffers from things like hypertension and diabetes, and is at risk for death or hospitalization from COVID-19. For Los Angeles County to fail to accommodate DPSS employees with telework the way virtually every private sector employer has done would mean that the County would have blood on their hands if an employee were to die from becoming infected with COVID-19 while in a crowded and dirty county facility. Lawsuits will surely… Read more »

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

They cant pay the ones truly affected why should they pay the ones not affected more?!

Fed up at LACUSC DHS
Guest
Fed up at LACUSC DHS

Wow! County continues to disappoint. Watched the town hall from the director of DHS Christina Ghaly and if you watched until the end did you notice almost ALL of the department heads were sitting in the comfort of their own homes thanking those risking their lives? Must be nice to be home and getting paid. Liz Jacobi needs to retract that exemption and DHS should stop saying our safety is their top priority when they are doing everything in their power to keep us on the front lines regardless of the “tough family situations” they say they are aware of.… Read more »

Upset
Guest
Upset

I was denied to telework from home even though I don’t have any childcare option and my son has strict restrictions to stay home due to his asthma.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Any hazard pay for frontline workers ???

Mariah.
Guest
Mariah.

I was sent a notice via email for assistance for childcare from county sponsored child care for essential employees. Not only will have to pay for it, I Told them I will need to take a look at the vicinity and check who is watching my children, how many adults/ per child ratio, The schedule for cleaning and sanitation, background checks on employees, their policy regarding sick employee and sick children. The poor woman told me she doesn’t have all that information because currently all childcare facilities are closed due to governors orders… they again are offering a benefit they… Read more »

County Employee
Guest
County Employee

The County’s guideline for exposure risk in the office is being within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 10 minutes. What about being within 6 feet of an infected or unknown for 8 hours, 3 or more days per week? How is that ok? Why isn’t County allowing workers full week telework who are able to do, literally all job functions with telework and a telephone? If telework is perfectly ok for 2 days, why not all the days until testing or some assurance of safety has become widespread?

DPSS employee
Guest
DPSS employee

1. We need HAZARD PAY
2. We need a RAISE
3. We need mask and hand sanitizers (by Sachi Hamai, Chief Executive Officer) deadline for dept. to provide cloth mask to employees is today April 15, 2020 we should have received them. Still NOTHING!
4. We need BONUSES on top of everything else. We been risking our lives and our families lives. Talk about social distancing. We dont even sit 6 ft away from our desk. PLEASE HELP YOUR COUNTY EMPLOYEES GET THE ABOVE. WE ARE WORKING REALLY HARD TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO OUR PEOPLE NOW. WE NEED HELP NOW!