Using ARPA Funds for COVID Paid Leave

County Clerk Jennifer Mortazavi requested the use of ARPA funding for COVID relief-pay for county clerk employees at Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioners on January 18th. She states there are employees who either didn’t have sick time to use or don’t have time left in the month to make up for lost time. “They can’t pull from time they don’t have,” she added, and voiced her concern over employees possibly leaving.

The District Commissioners recognized the need and the worry but said that if they allowed it for this department it would open a door and everyone would expect relief pay. This would include employees wanting reimbursement of sick or personal time they had to use when quarantining with the virus.

Leon Warner continued to say he recognized the legitimate need, but how can they police it? Currently, quarantine is down to five days rather than ten, however, if the virus passes through the family it can lead to two or three weeks at home. Nearly a month at home has negative consequences for someone’s paycheck, and Mortazavi shared her worry for her employees and their ability to pay their bills.

Mortazavi’s request for ARPA under The Final Rule allows funds to be allocated for covering pay of certain city employees since the office being low-staffed due to coronavirus has an economic negative impact. Mortazavi offered to contact other clerks and see how they’re handling similar situations so the Board can make a more informed decision on how to proceed and whether or not they should allow the allocation of ARPA funding for employees stuck at home with no way to work while quarantined.