Herron Keyon Gaston

State Senator

Herron Keyon Gaston

Deputy Majority Leader

Empowering Communities, Driving Change

April 12, 2023

Sen. Gaston Joins In Bipartisan Senate Approval Of Arbitrated Pandemic Payments For State Employees Working During Covid Crisis

HARTFORD – State Senator Herron Keyon Gaston (D-Bridgeport) joined a bipartisan vote in the state Senate today to approve an arbitrated award granting 35,500 state employees an average of $25 a week for the year they spent working closely with others at a time when there was no COVID-19 vaccine and the COVID-19 infection process was largely a mystery.

Senate Resolution 26 passed today on a bipartisan voted of 32-3.

“I am proud to support this piece of legislation that recognizes those who were brave and sacrificed their lives during a frightening time caused by the covid-19 pandemic,” said Sen. Gaston. “With today’s ‘yes’ vote, I join my colleagues in not only expressing our gratitude, but displaying it through action to help better the lives of those who worked tirelessly to improve ours.”

The pandemic payments were ordered by a neutral third-party arbitrator who noted that in March 2020, when Governor Lamont declared an emergency and urged people in Connecticut to “stay safe and stay home,” that did not apply to nearly 36,000 essential state employees who continued to report to their workplaces from March 20, 2020, through March 27, 2021. These employees enforced law and order, cared for the sick, the disabled, responded to emergencies and maintained the equipment and infrastructure that allowed state services to continue during a year in which there were 7,832 COVID deaths and 29,916 COVID hospitalizations.

The average award per-person is $1,333 for the year – about 62 cents an hour – though payments vary widely by position.

Other New England states providing similar pandemic pay stipends to their state employees include New Hampshire ($2,400 to $6,300 per-person), Massachusetts ($1,500 to $2,000 lump-sum payments per-person), Maine (hourly pay increases which exceed the Connecticut arbitration award) and Vermont (premium pay for corrections officers only).