Vice Speaker Nelson Introduces Hazardous Pay, Double Pay Measures


(Hagåtña, Guam) – Responding to the pleas of healthcare and front line workers and, to recognize their selfless service and sacrifice during the public health emergency, Vice Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson has introduced companion bills that will grant essential employees the hazardous differential pay and double pay they’re entitled to and deserve.


“It is true that no amount of pay could equal the service, sacrifice and hard work of our front line responders, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make an effort to compensate our island’s heroes at all,” said Vice Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson. “For months, our humble healthcare workers have risen daily to meet the daunting challenges awaiting them at work, challenges that would cripple the morale of any hard working employee.”


“With these measures, we say to our front line responders and those who have continued to work under the most extraordinary circumstances that they are not only appreciated, but that they are also of extraordinary value and worth every second they’ve selflessly dedicated to saving the lives of our people during a very difficult time,” Nelson added.


The companion measures, Bill Nos. 357-35 and 358-35, propose granting front line and essential employees hazardous differential pay and double pay retroactive to the Governor’s declaration of the public health emergency until the declaration of Pandemic Condition of Readiness 2, or March 14, 2020, to May 8, 2020. Bill No. 358-35 would codify the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-08, instituting three categories of COVID-19 differential pay as follows:

· Category 1: 25 percent to essential employees, who in the course of their duties are in direct contact or in close physical proximity to a population infected with or may be reasonably suspected to be infected with COVID-19. Such positions may include, but not be limited to, sworn public safety/law enforcement officers, health care providers, and other positions performing essential critical mission duties;

· Category 2: 15 percent to essential employees, who in the course of their duties may incidentally come into contact with or close physical proximity to a population infected with or may be reasonably suspected to be infected with COVID-19. These employees may also be providing humanitarian services or direct public assistance to the general public;

· Category 3: 10 percent to essential employees whose positions do not allow them to telework and are mandated to perform their job duties at physical worksites pre-determined by their agency heads, as required by the government of Guam's response to the COVID-19 pandemic


Bill No. 357-35 would establish double pay provisions for government of Guam employees who were required to remain on duty to provide essential services during Pandemic Condition of Readiness 1, or between March 14, 2020, to May 8, 2020. The bill also authorizes the Governor to use funding provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Under the measure, government employees would be paid at double the regular rate if, in the course of their duties:

· Are in direct contact or in close physical proximity to a population infected with or may be reasonably suspected to be infected with COVID-19 such as sworn public safety or law enforcement officers, health care providers, and other positions performing essential critical mission duties;

· May incidentally come into contact with or close physical proximity to a population infected with or may be reasonably suspected to be infected with COVID-19, including those employees who are providing humanitarian services or direct assistance to the general public; or

· Employees whose positions do not allow them to telework and are mandated to perform their job duties at physical worksites pre-determined by their agency heads, as required by the government of Guam’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic


Under the Department of Administration’s Personnel Rules and Regulations, “those employees, required to remain on duty to provide essential services, shall be paid at double the regular rate, or granted compensatory leave credits for the hours worked during the period the facility is closed and the other employees are on excused leave.” While the Attorney General recently opined that the criteria of the rule could lead to unintended inequities, the Organic Act expressly authorizes the Legislature to set the compensation of all government of Guam employees.


Upon introduction of the bills, Vice Speaker Nelson wrote the Committee on Rules and Office of Finance and Budget requesting that the required fiscal notes and committee referrals be expedited in light of the pressing demands for double pay.


“The committed service and personal sacrifice of every front line responder during this crisis has been outstanding and is certainly a source of pride for our island,” Nelson said.


“Especially for our nurses who have gone out to the villages for community testing, who have worked 12-hour days for consecutive weeks, who have knowingly taken the risk of infecting their families by committing to their line of work – we want them to know that, as much as they’ve been there for us in our time of need, we are committed to being there for them and recognizing their unprecedented service.”


For more information, please contact Tihu Lujan at The Office of Vice Speaker

Telena Cruz Nelson at (671) 989-7696 or senatortcnelson@guamlegislature.org.

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