Paid leave for school support staff during epidemics signed into law

Mike Seals - April 21, 2021 10:55 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY –The pay of school support staff will be protected during future epidemics and state emergencies thanks to legislation signed into law Tuesday. Senate Bill 807, by Sen. Chris Kidd, R-Waurika, will ensure support staff have the same pay protections during such events as teachers and administrators.

Gov. Stitt passed an executive order in the spring of 2020 requesting that public schools continue to pay all their employees, contractors, and support staff for the 2019-2020 school year. Kidd explained he filed his legislation after that executive order expired and was not renewed for the current school year leaving some support staff without pay.

“Support staff play a vital role in our schools from running the front office, maintaining student files and medicines, ensuring buildings are cleaned and much more. They’re typically the first people in the school and the last to leave,” Kidd said. “There’s no way we could have foreseen and prepared for the far-reaching affects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While most schools continued paying their support staff while shut down, not all did, and this will protect these hardworking employees in future emergencies when their schools are closed.”

SB 807 directs that school support employees be entitled to pay for any time lost when a school district is closed because of an epidemic or when a closing order is issued by an authorized health officer.

Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, is the principal House author of SB 807.

“Many of our school support employees lost time and pay over the past year when schools shut down during the pandemic,” Baker said. “I appreciated the opportunity to work alongside the Senate author to help ensure these employees will still be compensated during times of forced closure, so they can continue to take care of their own needs and those of their families.”

The new law will go into effect on July 1, 2021.

 

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