SALEM — Oregon will spend $23.6 million on hazard payments of up to $1,550 for state employees who were required to work in-person during the first 16 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
State employees who worked at least 200 hours of overtime during that time frame will receive an additional $575 payment, under the deal Gov. Kate Brown agreed to in July.
The governor signed off on the payments during contract bargaining with public employee unions, after Oregon lawmakers opted not to pass a broad payment program to reward more frontline workers including in the private sector.
But the Brown administration had not calculated the cost of the payments when The Oregonian reported on them and other elements of the new labor contracts in late July.
Now, budget analysts have pegged the total cost at $23.6 million, according to a fiscal document.
States are allowed to use federal American Rescue Plan money to issue payments to frontline workers during the pandemic,House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, has said that would be her top spending priority for the remaining federal relief funds in 2022.
Kotek announced earlier this month she is running for governor in 2022.