Business, Health, Politics

Governor Hogan announces indoor masking requirement in state buildings, state employee union agreements



ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Monday announced additional actions to address the current rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, including measures to safeguard the health of state employees and citizens entering state buildings and facilities.

In addition, the governor announced that the state has completed historic agreements with the two largest state employee unions that will lead to significant salary increases and additional benefits for members of the Maryland Professional Employees Council Local 6197 (MPEC) and AFSCME Maryland Council 3.

“Today we are taking another series of actions to address the current surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and we will continue to take every action necessary to help our hospitals and keep people safe,” said Governor Hogan. “In addition, we have successfully completed historic agreements with all of the unions, and I want to thank all hardworking state employees for their dedicated service.”

COVID-19 ACTIONS

Face Covering Requirement For State Buildings

Beginning on Monday, January 3, face coverings will be required for employees and visitors in all state buildings and leased space in all public or shared spaces.

Paid Leave For Booster Shots

To encourage booster shots among all eligible state employees, the state will be providing two hours of paid leave for any employee who receives a booster. This benefit will apply retroactively: employees who present proof of receiving a booster will receive the leave. All employers are encouraged to offer paid leave for vaccinations and booster shots.

Updated Quarantine Protocols for State Employees

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and Maryland Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has issued updated guidance to state agencies and offices adopting new CDC guidance on quarantine protocols for state employees, and allowing agency heads discretion to implement telework and hybrid work schedules for applicable employees while maintaining operations to continue serving Marylanders. Front-facing agency services will continue to remain open.

AGREEMENTS WITH STATE EMPLOYEE UNIONS

The agreements with MPEC and AFSCME—which represent approximately 23,000 state employees—signify the conclusion of annual negotiations, resulting in agreements with all state employee unions. Specifically, the MPEC and AFSCME agreements provide:

  • Jan. 1, 2022: a $1,000 bonus, a 1% cost of living adjustment (COLA), and a make-up increment of approximately 2% for employees who did not receive an increment in the past fiscal year;
  • July 1, 2022: a 3% COLA;
  • July 1, 2022: Regular increments of approximately 2% in FY 23; and
  • July 1, 2023: a 2% COLA.

This announcement follows agreements reached with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), State Law Enforcement Officers Labor Alliance (SLEOLA), BWI Airport Firefighters Local 142, and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Healthcare in December.



Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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