VB City Council approves hazard pay for ’emergency responders’ such as waste management workers

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Hazard pay is coming to some City of Virginia Beach employees.

On Tuesday night, City Council approved an ordinance giving “emergency workers” not eligible for hazard pay under the CARES Act — which includes eligible waste management employees — $1,500 in hazard pay. All other eligible full-time city workers will get $250.

Both types of pay are one-time payments.

The council vote was 10-1, with Councilman John Moss voting in opposition.

During the meeting and ahead of the vote, some workers and community members voiced their thoughts on whether sanitation workers should get hazard pay.

City officials listened to a local sanitation worker speak his thoughts on deserving hazardous pay along with other front liners during the coronavirus pandemic. He said he and others feel forgotten by the city.

Another community member suggested the lack of hazard pay for sanitation workers is a racial justice issue. Later in his comment, he also challenged Mayor Bobby Dyer to ride along with sanitation workers one day.

The vote for hazard pay comes less than a week after more than 110 Virginia Beach waste management workers protested after they learned they wouldn’t be receiving hazard pay via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.

Instead, City Council’s ordinance Tuesday transfers money that was saved in recent hiring freeze due to the pandemic.

The CARES funding was allocated to 2,273 employees, but under the new plan approved Tuesday, about 3,532 people would receive pay.

Overall, the city has received $78.6 million in CARES Act funding. $4.5 million of that was mostly for public safety employees, who will receive between $1,000 and $2,000 in hazard pay depending on rank. Eligible employees in Health and Human Services will be given $1,500.

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