Denver Will Issue Additional Pay for Employees Due to COVID-19 Impacts

Published on October 26, 2021

Mayor Hancock thanks City Council for supporting two pay initiatives for city employees

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock tonight shared his appreciation for the passage of two employee pay initiatives related to the COVID-19 pandemic: Premium Pay for employees who risked exposure to the virus in 2020 before vaccines were widely available in order to deliver city services to the community; and a Public Health Order Compliance Payment.

“From the beginning of this pandemic, city employees have showed up for our community on the frontlines and behind the scenes, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of their dedication and service to the residents of Denver then and now,” Mayor Hancock said. “City employees have made incredible sacrifices in one way or another over the past year and a half, and I thank the members of City Council for approving these two proposals.”

Public Health Order Compliance Payment

The city is providing a $400 Public Health Order compliance payment to all City and County of Denver employees who provided proof of full vaccination by Sept. 30, 2021. The payment is a way to show appreciation to employees for being vaccinated and/or complying with the Aug. 2 public health order (PHO). Vaccinated employees are currently scheduled to receive the $400 on their Nov. 26, 2021 paycheck. They must be a current employee as of that date.

Employees with a legally approved medical or deeply held religious belief exemption may get the $400 payment by staying in compliance with their exemption accommodations, including taking a PCR test and providing results to the city every 5 calendar days. Employees with a legal exemption may not have been disciplined or have disciplinary proceedings initiated against them for violating their accommodations on or before Dec. 10, 2021 to qualify for the payment. Those employees who remain in compliance are scheduled to receive the $400 payment in their Dec. 23 paycheck.

Cost for the program is estimated at $5 million funded primarily from 2021 General Fund contingency.

Premium Pay

From March to December 2020, before COVID-19 vaccines were widely available, many city employees were required to regularly risk exposure to the virus in order to deliver city services.

Both the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allow the city to use those funds to compensate employees required to work in higher risk occupations due to possible COVID-19 exposure.

Based on federal guidelines, to be eligible employees must have been required to spend 50% or more of their worktime having in-person interactions and/or physically handling items that were handled by others. For each month of regular eligible work, an employee will earn $250 with a maximum payment of $2,500 for employees who performed this work for all 10 months between March and December 2020.

The Department of Finance worked with managers and supervisors in all city agencies and independent offices to identify eligible employees.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, the $8.8 million for non-uniformed employee Premium Pay was authorized. The City will use $7.8 million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds to provide pay to uniformed employees. Total cost for the program is estimated at $16.6 million. The payment is scheduled to be provided to employees in an off-cycle paycheck on November 19, 2021.