Governor Hogan Announces State Employee Union Agreements, Indoor Mask Requirement Instituted for State Buildings, Paid Leave Offered For Booster Shots
Updated Quarantine Protocols Issued For State Offices And Employees
ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced additional actions to address the current surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations, including measures to safeguard the health of state employees and citizens entering state buildings and facilities.
In addition, the governor announced that the state has completed historic agreements with the two largest state employee unions that will lead to significant salary increases and additional benefits for members of the Maryland Professional Employees Council Local 6197 (MPEC) and AFSCME Maryland Council 3.
“Today we are taking another series of actions to address the current surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and we will continue to take every action necessary to help our hospitals and keep people safe,” said Governor Hogan. “In addition, we have successfully completed historic agreements with all of the unions, and I want to thank all hardworking state employees for their dedicated service.”
AGREEMENTS WITH STATE EMPLOYEE UNIONS
The agreements with MPEC and AFSCME—which represent approximately 23,000 state employees—signify the conclusion of annual negotiations, resulting in agreements with all state employee unions. Specifically, the MPEC and AFSCME agreements provide:
- Jan. 1, 2022: a $1,000 bonus, a 1% cost of living adjustment (COLA), and a make-up increment of approximately 2% for employees who did not receive an increment in the past fiscal year;
- July 1, 2022: a 3% COLA;
- July 1, 2022: Regular increments of approximately 2% in FY 23; and
- July 1, 2023: a 2% COLA.
This announcement follows agreements reached with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), State Law Enforcement Officers Labor Alliance (SLEOLA), BWI Airport Firefighters Local 142, and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Healthcare in December.
TODAY’S COVID-19 ACTIONS
Face Covering Requirement For State Buildings. Beginning Jan. 3, 2022, face coverings will be required for employees and visitors in all state buildings and leased space in all public or shared spaces.
Paid Leave For Booster Shots. To encourage booster shots among all eligible state employees, the state will be providing two hours of paid leave for any employee who receives a booster. This benefit will apply retroactively: employees who present proof of receiving a booster will receive the leave. All employers are encouraged to offer paid leave for vaccinations and booster shots.
Updated Quarantine Protocols for State Employees. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and Maryland Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has issued updated guidance to state agencies and offices adopting new CDC guidance on quarantine protocols for state employees, and allowing agency heads discretion to implement telework and hybrid work schedules for applicable employees while maintaining operations to continue serving Marylanders. Front-facing agency services will continue to remain open.
RECENT COVID-19 ACTIONS
Over the last several weeks, the state has taken a series of emergency actions to address the convergence of the Delta and Omicron variants:
- Established a surge operations center to optimize hospital bed capacity and fully utilize alternate care sites
- Committed an additional $100 million for hospitals and nursing homes to address urgent staffing needs
- Began to distribute 500,000 at-home rapid test kits through local health departments and BWI Airport
- Expanded the days and hours of state-run testing sites and opened two additional surge testing sites to meet increased demand
- Made an additional $30 million in funding available to school systems to further enhance their own testing resources
- Expanded genomic sequencing to track and detect COVID-19 variants