Flushing council approves hazard pay for essential workers

FLUSHING — Essential workers who are keeping the City of Flushing up and running through the COVID-19 pandemic will receive hazard pay.

The Flushing City Council voted Wednesday, April 29, to provide extra compensation to police officers, firefighters, and employees of the Department of Public Works and Wastewater Treatment plant.

Mayor Joe Karlichek said the stipends, the amounts of which vary by department, are a small token of the city’s appreciation for the sacrifices the workers and their families are making.

He added that the hazard pay applies only to the extraordinary circumstances of the current pandemic and is not intended to become standard operating procedure in the event of future emergencies.

“We want to make sure we’re not setting a precedent; this is a onetime deal,” he said.

Under a plan that Karlichek crafted, each full-time police officer will receive an additional $325 per pay period (officers are paid bi-weekly); part-time officers will receive $50 per shift, not to exceed $325 per pay period. Officers must complete their regularly-scheduled shifts to be eligible.

On-call firefighters will earn an additional $30 per run. Full-time employees at the Wastewater Treatment Plant will receive $125 per pay period if they complete their regularly-scheduled shifts. And, DPW workers will receive $25 per incident when they have contact with the public.

All of the stipends are retroactive to March 24 and effective through April 30.

When the City Council meets for its regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday, May 11, councilmembers will re-evaluate the stipends and determine whether to continue them beyond the April 30 deadline.

Karlichek said the plan will have “minimal impact” on the city’s budget. Total cost for the stipends is estimated at $8,700.