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New Orleans firefighters and police officers will not receive emergency pay related to the COVID-19 pandemic despite the urging from the city council and unions representing both professions.
The city's Civil Service Commission ruled Tuesday that firefighters, paramedics and other first responders are not entitled to additional pay while they work during the current health crisis, WDSU-TV reports. According to the commission, an emergency pay rate only applies to essential city employees "who are required to work while City offices are closed for a declared state of emergency."
"During this emergency situation, however, City government has remained open for business, and non-critical employees were instructed to continue working remotely if possible," Mayor LaToya Cantrell's office said in a statement.
Both the firefighters and police unions dispute the administration's argument, claiming City Hall workers have been told to stay home while under emergency order. Cantrell signed a pandemic-related emergency declaration in March, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a similar order at the state level.
Previously, emergency pay has applied hurricanes and other weather-related events.
"Unlike during a hurricane or other disaster, City Hall has remained open for business, and non-critical employees have been instructed to work," City Hall Communications Director Beau Tidwell told WDSU earlier this month.