State employees who work directly with public will get coronavirus bonus pay

LANSING — State employees who work directly with the public will get bonus pay during the coronavirus pandemic.

Approximately 10,000 state employees working in prisons, state hospitals, veterans homes and law enforcement will get $750 biweekly pay premiums “in recognition of the nature of their work,” State Employer Liza Estlund-Olson said in a statement Saturday.

The State Employer and state worker unions agreed to the premiums “to recognize state employees who continue to fulfill their duties on behalf of the state face-to-face with the public and customers at jobs where social distancing may not always be possible and where they cannot work from home,” State Budget Office spokesperson Kurt Weiss said in an email.

The extra pay will help keep essential state employees on the job and compensate them for the challenging work.

Most of Michigan’s roughly 50,000 state workers were directed to work from home starting March 24. That directive did not apply to workers providing essential services.

The premium pay for essential workers will appear as a lump sum each pay period. The bonuses will be paid with federal money. The first will appear on paychecks for the pay period starting April 5 and continue through the duration “stay home, stay safe” executive order.

That order suspends non-essential businesses and non-essential travel outside the home. It is supposed to expire April 13, though Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday it likely will be extended. 

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