$1,250 pandemic bonuses approved for some county employees

Snohomish County workers deemed essential will see the bump in paychecks starting in late September.

EVERETT — Snohomish County employees deemed essential during the pandemic will soon receive $1,250 in premium pay.

On Wednesday, the Snohomish County Council unanimously approved criteria for selecting which staff will get the pandemic bonuses. Early estimates indicate about 1,500 will qualify.

Eligible workers should start seeing the bump on their checks starting Sept. 22, Ken Klein, a county executive director, said in an email.

County Executive Dave Somers proposed premium pay for county employees in early June.

Later that month, the county council passed an ordinance setting aside $2.5 million of federal relief money to pay for it.

In total, Snohomish County received about $160 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. Premium pay is one of many uses of federal funds that local governments are encouraged to consider.

On Wednesday, the council also approved $1,250 bonuses for essential pandemic staff with the Snohomish Health District.

“I’m just glad we could do this and acknowledge our hardworking employees in the health district,” council chairperson Stephanie Wright said. “They’re always there for us, but boy, we have leaned on them for the last 18 months.”

Council members set aside $150,000 for the public health agency’s premium pay, though it’s unclear how many workers will qualify.

For the county, the bonuses will go to people like sheriff’s deputies, corrections officers, road crew workers, human services specialists and park rangers, as well as Snohomish County superior and district court employees.

Employees must have worked for at least six months between March 23, 2020 and July 5, 2021, with some time spent at the office and in a department that interacted with the public. Both part-time and full-time employees qualify, as long as they worked at least 20 hours per week.

The money is taxed as income and would come to employees through installments, under the proposal.

Employees exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) would receive two payments of $625, spread over two pay periods. FLSA non-exempt employees would receive an extra $8 per hour (or $12 per hour for overtime) for every hour worked in September and October, until they reached $1,250.

The same criteria will apply to health district employees.

The council on Wednesday also unanimously approved an ordinance that provides differential pay for county workers deployed in the military.

In many instances, a deployed employee’s military salary is lower than what they received in their regular line of work. Now, the county will cover the difference for its deployed staff.

“The last thing I want to worry about is financial security while I’m away,” said Joe Davis, a Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputy and 13-year member of the military.

Davis, who approached Councilman Nate Nehring with the idea for the ordinance, is preparing for a 400-day deployment.

Without differential pay, his income would drop by about $40,000, he said.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record
Freeland resident Kevin Lungren has been commuting to the office using his paddleboard. It's a commute he can do in all seasons and just about any type of weather, except wind.
Whidbey commuter paddleboards his way to work in all seasons

The financial advisor says he’s only fallen off his board twice in the past five years.

Photo by Heather Mayhugh
Stuart Peeples demonstrates how to enter Heather Mayhugh's wheelchair van. In recent months, while navigating the new Mukilteo ferry terminal, Mayhugh has struggled to unload her clients who need access to the restroom.
For some, Mukilteo’s new ferry terminal aggravates challenges

Many disabled folks say not enough thought went into improving the facility’s accessibility problems.

Parts of Snohomish County under weekend heat advisory

Monroe and areas of the county near the Cascades were expected to see highs in the 90s.

Marysville man wins $100,000 in military vaccine lottery

Carmen S., who served in the Vietnam War, claimed his $100,000 cash prize this week.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
State AG says it can’t investigate Lynnwood Jail death

Tirhas Tesfatsion’s family pushed Lynnwood leaders for an independent inquiry. Her death was ruled a suicide.

The growing business district along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, looking west toward I-5. At lower left is the construction site of the new Amazon fulfillment center. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald)
Marysville-Arlington road improvements won’t happen at once

Traffic improvement projects near the Cascade Industrial Center will take shape over the next decade.

2 men get prison time for stabbing stranger at Everett motel

The pair both pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the stabbing in 2019.

3 Monroe teachers awarded $185 million for chemical exposure

Chemical giant Monsanto was ordered to pay Sky Valley Education Center teachers in the first of many lawsuits.

Terry Boese, owner of Wicked Teuton Brewing Company, says he wishes his beard was longer so he could dress up as a wizard for a Harry Potter trivia night happening later this month. The brewer and the library are teaming up to offer two Booktoberfest trivia events, starting Thursday. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
Oak Harbor’s big-bearded Wicked Teuton brewer killed in crash

Terry Boese, a self-proclaimed “proud zymurgist,” was well-known in the North Whidbey beer scene.

Most Read