Updated July 2, 2020
I have questions about the Summer Bridge Fund.
There is a separate FAQ and resource page for questions about the Summer Bridge Fund at seiu99.org/summerfund
If we return to school, will we be required to get tested for COVID-19 and, if so, how will we pay for it?
There are no requirements for testing at the moment. If testing becomes mandatory, members will need to negotiate and take action ensure it doesn’t come out of workers’ pockets.
Coronavirus cases in L.A. County are climbing again. What will this mean for the re-opening of schools in the fall? How can we ensure our safety?
While school districts have announced they plan to resume classes in the Fall, it is unclear whether or not school facilities will physically re-open. Our union membership has, and will continue to, demand that once schools re-open safely and cleanliness is of the highest priority. If there is no personal protective equipment available to do the work safely, our members won’t work. Additional precautions like temperature check and access to testing are also key. See our Principles for Reopening Schools that are guiding our conversations with employers.
The Governor said the stay-at-home date is until June 30th. Has the date been extended or am I to report back to work?
The stay-at-home order has not been renewed. All school employees who are vulnerable or have people in their household who fall within one or more of the high-risk categories should be allowed to stay home with pay, and without impact to their benefited time. If you have disclosed to your supervisor that you are high-risk and are being forced to do work that puts you or someone in your household in danger, please report it to our Member Resource Center immediately by submitting an Inquiry Form.
If an employee is in a high risk category (e.g. have a chronic illness like diabetes or asthma) or someone in their household is high-risk, do they have to go back to work? What do they need to do?
Details of what school sites will look like, or even when they will re-open is still unclear. According to guidance provided by the California Department of Education, Districts must propose alternate work assignments for current employees. SEIU Local 99 has not changed our position on this matter: all school employees who are vulnerable or have people in their household who fall within one or more of the high-risk categories should be allowed to stay home with pay, and without impact to their benefited time. If you have disclosed to your supervisor that you are high-risk and are being forced to do work that puts you or someone in your household in danger, please report it to our Member Resource Center immediately by submitting an Inquiry Form.
Will I be paid while my school or worksite are closed?
All SEIU Local 99 members should be paid their regular pay based on the hours you currently work on a weekly basis. If you see any discrepancy in your pay, please notify SEIU Local 99 immediately by submitting this Inquiry Form.
Governor Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond have announced that schools are expected to remain closed for the duration of the current school year. The final decision will be made by school districts and other employers. But keep in mind that you should be paid your regular pay for the hours you normally work and for any paid holidays that fall during the closure period – for as long as it lasts.
Please see question below about additional compensation for workers who are required to report to work during the closures.
Will I be paid during Spring Break?
We are addressing this issue with employers and it’s our union’s position that if you normally work during spring break, you should be paid. Members who don’t normally work during spring break, and who are usually allowed to use vacation or other paid leave to cover the break, should be allowed to do so. For any other unassigned employees who do not use vacation or other paid leave over spring break, we are also talking with employers about using available vacation time to cover this period. No agreements have been reached yet.
Has the Summer Bridge Program been impacted by the economic effects of the crisis?
No, the Summer Bridge Program is unaffected because funding for the program was already set aside in last year’s state budget. If you applied by the March 1, 2020 deadline, you’ll still be able to start contributing in the 2020/2021 school year, and withdraw funds next summer. If you contributed for the 2019/2020 school year, you’ll be able to begin withdrawing this summer. For LAUSD employees, disbursements are on schedule to go out mid-July. The Summer Bridge Program is not impacted by possible state budget deficits due to an expected decline in tax revenue.
Will LAUSD Bus Drivers be paid Average Pay Time (APT)?
Yes, the school district has confirmed with SEIU Local 99 that all bus drivers will be paid APT and not base rate. If you have issues with your pay, you should notify SEIU Local 99 immediately by submitting this form.
Will LAUSD substitute workers be paid?
Our union has confirmation from LAUSD that substitute workers in all job classifications, including Special Education Assistants, Building & Grounds Workers and others will be paid during the school closures. Please see this memo from LAUSD regarding pay for substitute workers.
How can I sign-up to voluntarily work at LAUSD’s “grab-and-go” meal centers and earn the $100/day stipend?
LAUSD has received an overwhelming response to the request for volunteer workers and all positions are currently filled. If there is a need to open more centers and for additional staff, the volunteer work opportunities will become available again. Please note, these positions are only available for current LAUSD employees. Please check LAUSD’s website for further announcements about voluntary work opportunities.
What if I am required to report to work during the school or campus closures?
Some Local 99 members are being required to report to work during school and campus closures. If you are required to report to work, we recommend you do so. However, there are some exceptions. If you are a high-risk employee, we recommend that you report it to your employer and stay at home. If you have issues with your employer regarding your “high risk” status, contact SEIU Local 99 by completing the inquiry form.
“High risk” employees are those who:
Are 60 years of age or over
Have a pre-existing medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease or immune deficiency
Additionally, if your child is home due to school closures and you cannot make arrangements for child care, you should notify your supervisor that you will need to stay home. Also, if you are caring for a person who is high risk, you should notify your supervisor. Your supervisor may assign you to work from home, if appropriate. You will not be penalized for taking the time off for caregiver or childcare purposes.
Members at LAUSD should have received this memo that outlines specific reporting instructions for classified employees. According to the memo, LAUSD is asking the following classifications to report to work:
• Building and Grounds Workers
• Early Education Center Attendants
• School Facilities Attendants
• Some Food Service Workers
• School Bus Drivers
Please refer to the memo from the district regarding work assignments. Some supervisors may give you different instructions, but you should follow the instructions in the memo. If your supervisor gives you different instructions, document it and report it to your SEIU Local 99 Steward or Union Organizer or by completing our online Inquiry Form.
If I am required to report to work, can I be paid additional compensation?
SEIU Local 99 members who are required to report to work are on the frontlines of ensuring stability and security for families during this crisis. This is why SEIU Local 99 is urging employers to pay them additional compensation on top of their regular pay.
LAUSD has agreed to pay an additional $100/day stipend on top of regular pay to workers who voluntarily work the grab-and-go meal centers and those who are required to work to support the grab-and-go centers, including food service workers, building and grounds workers, Beyond-the-Bell workers, truck drivers, and mechanics. LAUSD has also agreed to pay an additional $5/hour to workers who are required to report to work during the closures in areas that are not part of the grab-and-go meal program.
When will LAUSD employees who are required to report to work be paid the additional $5/hour?
According to LAUSD, this is the pay schedule: For the pay period 3/16/20 – 4/15/20 the cutoff date is 6/12/20 and the pay date will be 6/30/20. For the pay period 4/16/20-6/30/20, the cutoff date is 6/30/20 and the pay date will be 7/10/20. Payment will be retroactive to 3/16/20.
What if I am being required to work remotely from home or to complete online training?
If you have been given an assignment that requires you to work from home, including on-line training and professional development, we are working with employers to ensure that you are provided with the technology you need to complete your assignment.
Will my sick days, vacation time, or other benefited time be used during the time I am out due to school closures or changes in schedules?
While schools and worksites are closed and you are at home with or without an assignment, your vacation, sick time, personal or other earned time-off should not be affected. Of course, if you are sick you should report it and your sick time will be used.
If you or a dependent family member are sick due to a COVID-19 related illness, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act that went into effect April 1 includes provisions for emergency paid sick leave and expanded family medical leave. Read more.
What happens if my school or worksite is closed due to an outbreak of coronavirus?
Your health and safety come first and you should abide by all procedures set up by your employer and local health care agencies, including going home and staying home if you are sick. It is important to note that school districts are in daily communication with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and other local health agencies to monitor any new cases of coronavirus and to determine if the school community is affected. Additionally, the state has put together a set of guidelines for school districts to use to determine if school closures are necessary. As with other emergency and natural disaster situations, SEIU Local 99 will work to ensure that you are paid for any wages lost due to school or worksite closures.
What if I don’t feel safe completing a work assignment?
Your employer must provide you with all of the necessary equipment, supplies and training to complete your assignment safely. However, if you still do not feel safe, let your supervisor know in writing that you cannot complete the assignment because it is not safe to do so. Immediately report the incident to SEIU Local 99 by completing an Online Inquiry Form.
Can I be required to work overtime due to the outbreak?
Employers can mandate overtime work in the case of an emergency. If you are required to work overtime, do not refuse the request but document the conversation you had with your supervisor or save copies of the assignment you receive in writing. The employer is required to pay you for all hours worked.
What does LAUSD’s declaration of emergency mean?
The LAUSD school board passed a declaration on March 10, 2020 that gives the superintendent the authority to take all necessary actions to secure the health and safety of students and staff and ensure that student instruction continues as much as possible in the event of an emergency due to coronavirus.
According to this declaration, the superintendent will have the authority to relocate students and staff, revise student transportation arrangements and approve educational options. It also gives him authority to provide paid leaves of absence for employees due to quarantine or illness, assign staff to serve as disaster-service workers, and order necessary alterations, repairs or improvements to district property.
Here’s what LAUSD’s declaration doesn’t mean: It doesn’t mean that the superintendent can ignore our union contract when taking actions to address coronavirus. The district must still negotiate with SEIU Local 99 over any changes in staffing, hours, the subcontracting of work, work assignments, and other issues. It is important to note that SEIU Local 99 is in daily communication with LAUSD regarding coronavirus and members will have a voice regarding any proposed changes due to an emergency. The voices of SEIU Local 99 members are critically important on this issue since many are frontline workers addressing school cleanliness, health, and safety.
LAUSD has set-up a special hotline for any questions about coronavirus – (213) 443-1300. The hotline is open 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.