City Manager Update
To All City Employees,
I hope that you are all staying well, mentally and physically, in these most unusual times. I remain incredibly proud of all of your efforts over the past few weeks, a sentiment that I know is shared by the City Council and residents of our community.
As you’ve likely heard, the Governor has extended his “Stay at Home” order through the end of April. We will be following the Governor’s direction as a City and will not reopen our closed facilities to the public before April 30. Over the next several weeks, however, I’ll be working with your department heads to think creatively about ways to begin reinstituting certain services in a limited capacity. If you have ideas, be sure to share them with your department head. As previously stated, any assessment of expanding current service levels will occur with the health and welfare of our employees and the public in mind.
You may have also heard recent news about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which goes into effect today. This Act extends Family and Medical Leave benefits to be used for child care under certain circumstances, and provides some sick leave to use in these circumstances. It also allows the City to designate certain employees as emergency responders, who are then exempt from the Act. The attached memo provides more details on why this Act was passed and who the City has designated as emergency responders.
Human Resources is working on putting a policy in place so that employees will know how the Act may impact our workforce. We then plan on holding virtual work group meetings next Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss with you the Act and answer any questions that you may have. Check our employee website, www.citylf.org, for more information that we’ll post as it becomes available. I’ve also attached a copy of the federal poster describing this Act.
Thank you, again, for all that you are doing, including those working long hours remotely, to keep things running as much as possible during this time. I look forward to hearing from all of you during our work group Q&A sessions next week.
CITY OF LAKE FOREST MEMORANDUM
To: All City Employees
From: Jason Wicha, City Manager
Date: April 1, 2020
RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Emergency Responders
The FFCRA is recent national legislation created as a response to the Coronavirus pandemic. It was designed to address the fact that private sector employees have far less paid sick leave benefits than public sector employees in Illinois. Private sector employees often do not have a bank with multiple hours of sick leave waiting to be used. This statute was largely designed to make sure that employees like waiters and waitresses who did not have sick leave available did not report to work sick. Furthermore, unlike the private sector, this is an unfunded mandate for public sector employers.
The City of Lake Forest is exercising the Emergency Responder exclusion so that we can be sure there are enough employees to provide critical City services at all times. For example, if all of our Emergency Responders took 12 weeks of FMLEA benefits to watch after children who are home from school, we would not have enough manpower to respond to calls for service. If any employee becomes sick or needs to care for a family member who is sick, our collective bargaining agreements and personnel policies provide generous sick leave benefits, and the employee may also qualify for regular FMLA benefits.
At this time, we are identifying Emergency Responders as the following positions:
Sworn Police personnel
Sworn Fire personnel
Public Works employees
Parks, Forestry and Cemetery employees
A more detailed policy will be forthcoming in the next few days. We are still hoping for additional information from the Department of Labor on this Act.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Director of Human Resources DeSha Kalmar, firstname.lastname@example.org.