Illinois agrees to give nurses COVID-19 hazard pay, protections

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This Tuesday, March 31, 2020 photo provided by emergency room nurse Cynthia Riemer shows her at the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago, wearing a welder’s mask from a hardware store and other hospital-issued protective gear. Nurses are supplementing their hospital PPE with items such as the welder’s mask to conserve hospital supplies. (Cynthia Riemer via AP)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) – The Illinois Nurses Association reached an agreement Thursday with the state to give nurses compensation and more safety measures for days they work during the Coronavirus pandemic.

One of the lead nurses that negotiated the deal was Victorian Dameron. She said the deal included important safety provisions for all nurses alongside a premium pandemic pay for nurses not covered under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FCRA). The deal specified a 12 percent increase to an employee’s base salary for the days they worked between April 16, and June 30.

“These are incredibly challenging times for nurses and INA’s negotiating team has been working hard to win safety measures and other benefits to address working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic,“ said Dameron.

Nurses who were excluded from the FCRA and worked full-time from May 1 through May 31 will also get an additional personal day added to their accrued benefit time on Jan. 1 next year. This benefit does not apply if they took days off during that period.

The new benefits apply to all registered nurses who work in state mental health facilities, correctional centers, Illinois Youth Centers, veteran’s administration homes, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, and the Department of Public Health.

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