Paid leave for OPS students not possible due to state legislation

Courtney Green, News Editor

***If you are a student who works (OPS or otherwise) and will not be paid for time off, please share your story with [email protected]***

After Student Government asked President Szymanski to grant part-time employees paid leave during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the University has communicated to Student Government that they are unable to do so because of a state law.

F.S. 110.131 outlaws OPS positions from receiving paid leave. Specifically, the law reads:

“Unless specifically provided by law, other-personal-services employees are not eligible for any form of paid leave, paid holidays, a paid personal day, participation in state group insurance or retirement benefits, or any other state employee benefit.”

Almost all student employees at universities are considered OPS (other personal services).

Student Body President John Aloszka tweeted the update to students yesterday. The tweet, however, drew some unexpected attention from Representative Anna V. Eskamanni, who replied with shock.

“When we’ve been talking about relief packages for the state and at the federal level, one of the most immediate things that could be done — and Representative Eskamanni agrees with us — is that if we could waive the statue and get the statue for future references so that instead of being retroactive with trying to help our most vulnerable populations who work for us, we can say ‘no, we’re just going to give you paid leave right now so we don’t even have to worry about a stimulus package or grants or anything like that,” Aloszka said in an interview with Spinnaker.

When asked if Aloszka thought paid leave may be a possibility now, given the Florida Statute, he answered honestly.

“I don’t know,” he said. “But this is something we are still 100 percent going to pursue.”

Aloszka has asked OPS students to share their stories with UNF Spinnaker in hopes of drawing more attention to the issue. You can submit your story about how the current Florida statute prohibiting paid leave will impact you to [email protected] for Spinnaker to publish.

Spinnaker will update as the story develops.


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