SG seeks Paid Leave for Part Time Employees During COVID-19 Break

Emily Echevarria, Government Reporter

Student Government is urging President Szymanski to grant part-time employees of UNF paid leave during the COVID-19 break from in-person classes. This was detailed in a Joint Resolution unanimously passed by the Senate on Friday afternoon, March 13. 

“There’s a real palpable anxiety on this campus, especially for students who work on campus and who rely on those hours to pay rent and to buy food and to sometimes send money back to their families,” Aloszka said. 

Part-time employees do not typically qualify for benefits like paid sick leave, but Student Body President John Aloszka felt that the COVID-19 crisis called for an exception. 

“What I am most concerned about as well is not only the financial security of our students, but I want for you to imagine a scenario right now,” Aloszka told the Senate. “A student who works in the cafe, who relies on that job to pay their rent, is feeling sick but doesn’t really think it’s Coronavirus so comes to work because they can’t risk not having that money and getting evicted.”

“They are touching everyone’s food. They end up testing positive. And then you have to quarantine all the dorms,” he continued. 

Aloszka asked the Board of Trustees about paid leave for part-time employees during a meeting on Thursday, March 12, but was told the university could not yet commit to that but would, “certainly do everything we can do,” by Scott Bennett, Interim VP of Administration and Finance. 

“It comes down to making sure that if they were scheduled to work during this time and they’re relying on that income for their rent or their tuition or whatever, that they’re able to still have that cash flow, but I think it’s also about making sure that people who are sick don’t come to work because they think they need to make the money,” Aloszka told Spinnaker after the Board of Trustees meeting. 

The JR draws on Szymanski’s power of “Presidential Discretion,” which allows him to, “designate additional leave days with pay for administrative purposes,” according to UNF Regulation 4.0120P. 

“Given the nature of many part time positions, the ability to work remotely will not be an option for many employees, therefore they may have to forfeit those expected wages, which will add to the anxiety and stress surrounding COVID-19,” the JR says. 

The JR was approved by the Senate, but does not enact the change on its own. Instead, it is a formal representation of SG’s opinion. The JR has been forwarded to Szymanski, as well as Human Resources and the Vice President of Administration and Finance, to make the final decision. 


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