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Superior creates retroactive policy for COVID-19

Employees who tested positive between June 1, 2021, and May 3, 2022, could receive credit for up to five days of paid time off used to quarantine.

Coronavirus.jpg
COVID-19 virus photographed through a powerful microscope. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. NIAID-RML
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SUPERIOR — The city's human resources committee on Monday, June 20, created a retroactive policy to ensure that city employees are treated equally when required to quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19.

Employees who can document they tested positive for COVID-19 between June 1, 2021, and May 3, 2022, will be given credit for using up to five days of paid time off they were required to use for the mandatory quarantine period.

Documented cases include those tests performed at a pharmacy, medical facility or testing site, said Cammi Janigo, human resources director.

“It can’t be a home test,” she said.

Janigo said it’s not clear how many people working for the city contracted the virus during that period because the city wasn’t tracking it.

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Since May 3, employees have been able to take administrative leave rather than being forced to use PTO to cover the required quarantine period. The council established the temporary leave policy that expires at the end of the year at the request of Mayor Jim Paine.

Prior to June 1, 2021, when the city’s state of emergency related to the pandemic ended, employees were granted administrative leave after a positive COVID-19 test.

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“The federal government required us to provide … this benefit,” Paine said. “That policy ended, which kicked in our normal policy.”

After having time to think about the policy, council President Jenny Van Sickle said she supported it.

The committee has debated the issue since April.

For Councilor Ruth Ludwig, chairperson of the human resources committee, the retroactive policy was always a matter of fairness.

“We have this group of employees … that had to use their PTO,” Ludwig said. “I think that’s a little bit unfair because of a timing issue.”

The council will consider the retroactive policy July 5.

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In other business, the human resources committee eliminated an age restriction that prohibits the police department from hiring new officers that have reached the age of 55. By eliminating the upper age restriction, written into the police officer job description, Superior’s requirements now match Wisconsin requirements for law enforcement officers.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com.
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