GREENSBORO, N.C. — Guliford County Schools plans to increase pay for certain hourly workers. Beginning April 1, hourly employees filling critical roles during the coronavirus pandemic will be paid time and one-half for hours worked, according to GCS officials.
GCS Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreres announced the pay increase applies to hourly employees who have been deemed mandatory by their supervisors and are required to report to work either to provide childcare for hospital workers or prepare and deliver student meals.
The pay increase for the identified hourly workers is valid from April 1 to April 30, 2020, but could be extended, depending on the pandemic’s impact in Guilford County. GCS plans to reduce the number of non-mandatory personnel working on-site this coming week to help “flatten the curve” – the anticipated increase in coronavirus 19 cases.
For the 2019-2020 school year, more than sixty-five percent of GCS students meet the criteria for free- or reduced-price meals. Last Tuesday, GCS served less than 1,000 meals. Since Governor Roy Cooper announced North Carolina public school closure on March 16, the district has served more than 29,000 emergency meals per day and has provided more than 157,000 total meals.
Per the North Carolina State Board of Education, non-mandatory employees, as well as those who report to work for reduced hours, who are unable to work remotely from home, may take paid State Emergency Leave for the balance of the hours where they have not been assigned on-site or remote duties.
The paid State Emergency Leave is in effect from March 16 to April 30. The additional leave was approved last Friday by the North Carolina State Board of Education.
“Without our dedicated school nutrition and transportation staff who are preparing and distributing meals, Guilford County would be facing the potential of massive child hunger. Additionally, without the commitment of our after-school staff, teacher assistants and custodial support, some hospital workers would not have childcare and would be unable to report for duty," Dr. Contreres said in her announcement
Dr. Contreras and school board members are meeting virtually Tuesday morning with members of the local delegation to the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA).
“We respectfully ask the General Assembly to act swiftly to increase the pay of these critical hourly employees,” said Dr. Contreras. “In the meantime, however, GCS will take action immediately to prevent child hunger and the lack of childcare for frontline healthcare workers from making the pandemic even worse.”