Who Decides Whether Hourly Employees Get Paid In A Pandemic? Local School Boards

Mar 24, 2020

Indiana School Boards Association executive director Terry Spradlin says local school boards just have to pass a formal resolution in order to keep paying hourly staff who can't work during COVID-19 closures.
Credit Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

School buildings are closed statewide for at least another month, and it's up to locally elected school boards to decide whether, and how, to pay hourly workers.

When buildings close, schools don't have to pay part-time or hourly employees like janitors, cafeteria workers or classroom support staff, but Indiana School Boards Association executive director Terry Spradlin says he thinks most of them are. 

"We only have anecdotal information to share, and I can say I have not heard of any one school corporation that has decided not to pay non certified employees during the pandemic," he says. 

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Because of the timing of the outbreak, Spradlin says, schools are using regularly scheduled spring breaks to aid in planning, but the regular budgets put in place before the year started will cover hourly employee paychecks for now.

"And we do have resources to pay all school personnel because we have approved budgets through the school year," he says.

Some districts have offered supplemental pay for employees who are still working during COVID-19 closures. School boards only need to adopt a formal resolution to provide pay for workers who aren't reporting to a physical school building. 

But Spradlin says additional questions on hourly pay – and several other education issues – will need to be addressed after the state determines the future of the rest of the school year.

For now, school buildings will remain closed under the order of Gov. Eric Holcomb until May 1.

Contact Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.