County considers giving COVID-19 hazard pay to additional employees

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Bartholomew County officials are considering providing one-time hazard pay bonuses of $1,500 to full-time county employees and $750 to eligible part-time workers to some employees who didn’t receive checks the first time around.

On Dec. 17, nearly 55% of the county’s 456 employees received that bonus, which is referred to as “hazard pay.”

That translates to 227 full-time workers and 23 part-timers sharing in a total of $351,750 of federal money.

The Bartholomew County Commissioners said in December that more workers would likely receive similar one-time bonuses from federal American Rescue Plan money by the end of the first week of February.

When asked how many additional county workers qualify for the premium pay, county auditor Pia O’Connor said that will be determined by the end of next week.

But one of the three county commissioners did not support a resolution that will lead to the distribution of further bonuses.

Tony London said the resolution went against ‘the original spirit of the American Relief Plan, which he says was intended to award law enforcement, medical and health officials who were out in the field every day with potential COVID-19 patients before the vaccine became widely distributed early last year.

“The original spirit of the bill supports premium pay for people who went above and beyond,” London said. “There’s no question that every (county employee) gave some, but some gave a whole lot more than others.”

For the complete story, see Thursday’s Republic.