NAPE staff have been working tirelessly to make sure your voice is heard and that you are well represented during these uncertain times. We met with DAS Administrator Jason Jackson this morning to hear more about the state’s response to COVID-19 and to advocate on your behalf.
The governor is asking everyone not to meet in groups of more than 10 people, and so NAPE has cancelled all of our membership meetings for the remainder of March including meetings that were scheduled in Omaha (3/19), Fremont (3/23), and Kearney (3/31). We will re-evaluate our April meetings in the coming weeks.
Mr. Jackson shared with us that the goal is to keep state government open because we provide vital services that Nebraskan’s need. We couldn’t agree more, and NAPE members are always willing to go the extra mile to help the people we serve. With that said, safety is a priority and DAS is providing the following guidance to all state agencies.
- Employee physical safety and income security are vitally important during this time of uncertainty.
- Agencies are being encouraged to allow employees to work from home. While some employees and some agencies may not be able to have staff work from home, they are encouraged to do so as much as possible.
- Agencies should be as charitable as possible with employees regarding their needs.
- If the situation changes, evaluations about the continuity of services will be made.
Employees can use vacation, sick, or comp time if they are quarantined. We have heard a few reports that some supervisors are not allowing sick leave unless someone is actually sick. Please contact us if you have a problem accessing your earned sick leave so we can help on a case-by-case basis. Agencies are also being encouraged to advance leave if necessary.
If you would like to work from home, you should request to do so. Some agencies have already adopted forms and procedures, while others have not. If your agency does not have a procedure, make the request via e-mail to your supervisor. If you are not allowed to work from home and you feel that it is feasible and reasonable, please contact us to see if we can help.
We anticipate that the situation will continue to evolve, and our staff will continue to assist and advocate on your behalf. If we need to agree to emergency relief or if the situation escalates, we plan to continue to work with DAS and communicate with you as we have more information. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need assistance. Please know we are responding as quickly as possible and will be in touch as soon as we can.
Finally, an important piece of legislation, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, is pending action in the US Senate. It passed the House, and all three of Nebraska’s representatives supported the legislation. If you have a moment, please contact Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse to urge them to support this legislation that will benefit workers during this time. You can read more about the legislation here.
Stay safe, stay calm, and continue to be NAPE strong!