Mishawaka spends first Rescue Plan dollars on premium pay for city employees
The Mishawaka Common Council voted to spend a portion of the city’s American Rescue Plan funding Monday night.
The city will spend roughly $1 million on premium pay for employees who worked from the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency through Nov. 30, 2021.
The city originally proposed spending half that amount, but Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood said Monday that he decided to double the number after several conversations with council members.
Wood said the increased pay is meant to show appreciation for workers who “put their physical wellbeing at risk” to help the city stay open. But, it’s also a way to stave off competition for the city’s drivers, maintenance workers and public safety officers.
“The competition is real and it will impact us,” Wood said. “This is something that helps us to retain some of those folks.”
According to council documents, the city will issue premium pay for all hours that constituted “essential work” – defined as “work involving regular in-person interactions or regular physical handling of items that were handled by others.”
Elected officials don’t qualify for premium pay, and work performed remotely from a residence won’t be counted as “essential.”
The city caps premium pay at $13 an hour and further caps total payouts by department:
- Lead medics: $3,000
- Sworn fire and police officers: $2,500
- Non-lead medics and advanced EMTs: $1,000
- Teamsters and certain IT employees: $2,000
- Civil city full time employees (including parks, redevelopment and utility workers): $1,570
This is the first time the city of Mishawaka has spent American Rescue Plan dollars. The city received over $11.8 million from the federal act.
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