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Cuyahoga County Offers Employees More Paid Time Off If Sick Days Run Out

Cuyahoga County is giving its employees 80 more hours of paid leave if they exhaust their sick time during the coronavirus pandemic.

Council voted 10-1 to approve the “emergency administrative leave” measure at a special meeting Monday afternoon.

Employees who feel sick should stay at home, County Executive Armond Budish said, and those who can work from home should do so.

“We don’t want people coming in to infect others if they’re still sick,” Budish said.

Budish will be able to grant additional paid leave to sick employees who use up their emergency time off. The measure is effective retroactively to March 11 and expires Dec. 19.

Council also appropriated $1 million for coronavirus response and passed a measure expediting contracts, leases and purchases under the county’s emergency declaration. The county can now spend more than $500,000 with a sign-off from the county executive and council president but without approval from council or the board of control.

“I understand this is unusual,” Council President Dan Brady said of the fast-track spending legislation. “This is to give the executive and the county the ability to deal with whatever comes our way.”

Brady said he would talk over such larger purchases with council members before approving the items.

The county administration has already received spending requests for sanitizers, face masks and hospital equipment, Budish said. The jail may also need more money if inmates need to be quarantined, he said.

The county is sanitizing its buildings, Budish said, and directors are reviewing employee lists to determine who can work from home.

“There will be major sacrifices required of all of us,” he said, “but those sacrifices will save lives.”

Council’s offices remain open, but staff are encouraged to work from home, President Dan Brady said. Council won’t hold another full meeting until April 14.

The county faces many unknowns as it responds to coronavirus, including revenue. Finance Committee Chair Dale Miller said he would work with the administration to deal with a potential blow to the county’s income dealt by the state-mandated closure of so many businesses.

“This is going to greatly impact the county’s finances,” Miller said. “Sixty percent of our general fund revenue comes from sales tax, and all these things shutting down is going to have a huge impact.”

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