LAFAYETTE, La. — KATC is Getting Answers to a question many teachers have asked us: Do they still have the 10 coronavirus sick days they were granted at the start of the school year?
The CARES Act was passed last March. It included certain employees to be granted 10 days of paid leave if they got sick from COVID-19, or were forced to quarantine.
That law expired on Dec. 31, 2020.
The omnibus bill signed by President Donald Trump on Dec. 27, 2020 does not require employers to offer sick leave.
Several Lafayette Parish School System officials tell KATC that they do not know.
"We don't know what's going to happen and we are looking forward to hear from legal guidance," said Jennifer Gardner, LPSS Chief Administrative Officer. "Just as other districts are, we are waiting to hear the interpretation of it and how it's going to move forward."
Unlike the previous CARES Act that was passed last year during the pandemic, the new bill signed on Dec. 27 does not include a clause that provides 10 paid sick days for COVID-19 to certain employees.
"We haven't taken any days away," said Gardner. "It expired on Dec. 31, is really what happened. I know there is a possibility of an extension that people are still trying to figure it out, including other districts.
"And right now, there is legal council that represents multiple districts all over the state, trying to find out the information and how it will look, and the availability to school districts, and just understanding it," she said.
One complaint KATC has received was that there was no communication that the COVID-19 days would expire at the end of the year.
In Lafayette, Gardner disputes that claim.
"Back in August, when our teachers and our staff returned to schools, we provided a video that came from my department that informed teachers of the information regarding COVID-19 leave," said Gardner. " In that video, it actually stated that it ended Dec. 31, 2020."
As of right now, the Lafayette Parish School System still has no definite answer on what will happen, but they are working on getting a solution.
We also learned that law enforcement officers have been affected.
According to the Lafayette Police Department, officers must now use personal time off if they get sick from the virus.
Originally, LPD granted separate coronavirus sick days, but they ended that practice when the CARES Act, and the grant that came with it, expired.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office is extending CARES Act benefits, including COVID-19 sick days, to its deputies through June 30th.
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