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Central Texas school district provides COVID-19 sick leave days to employees

Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 7:50 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Killeen ISD employees now have access to COVID-19 sick leave days after the school board voted to approve the policy on Tuesday.

The new policy provides 10 days (80 hours) of paid sick leave to district employees.

Employees can use the sick days if they have a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 or if they’re caring for a COVID positive or quarantined family member or if they have symptoms of the virus.

Employees cannot use the sick days if they are caring for a child whose school or daycare has closed because of COVID-19, however.

In 2020, the federal government enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act which offered two weeks of emergency paid sick leave for workers.

That provision expired on Dec. 31.

Killeen ISD’s new policy will apply retroactively to Jan. 1, including employees who have used personal sick days between Dec. 31 and Jan. 26.

Jennifer Lee, a teacher at Harker Heights High School, said when she was hospitalized with COVID-19, she checked herself out of the hospital because she was concerned about how many sick days she had.

“I can’t be as sick as I am, I guess, because I have a job and we have sick days and when those run out, they start taking out of our paycheck and that’s something I can’t afford to do,” Lee said.

Lee has been out of the classroom for more than two weeks.

Under the new policy, 10 of her sick days would be restored.

President Joe Biden is asking Congress to reinstate last year’s paid sick leave order.

If passed, the new order would require employers to provide at least two weeks of paid sick leave to employees at 100% of their pay and 12 weeks to take care of family members for COVID-19 related reasons at two thirds of their pay.

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