HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania will stop paying about 9,000 state workers whose offices have been closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Friday.
Paid leave for state employees whose work locations are closed and who are unable to work remotely will end April 10, according to Gov. Tom Wolf's Office of Administration.
The pay freeze affects about 12% of the state workforce, though individual agencies were hit much harder, with the state departments of Transportation and Revenue halting pay to more than half their employees.
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About 5,700 of the affected workers are employed by PennDOT. About 900 work for the Department of Labor & Industry, about 850 work for Revenue, and the remainder are scattered across other agencies.
The frozen Labor & Industry positions are not associated with the state's unemployment compensation program, which has been overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of claims, officials said.
State workers can use paid vacation days, sick leave or compensatory time to continue to receive a paycheck. Otherwise they will be eligible to apply for unemployment, officials said. The state will continue to provide health and life insurance benefits.
In Westmoreland County, Commissioner Sean Kertes told news organizations that nearly 500 county employees will be furloughed after Friday, with benefits.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported more than 1,400 additional people tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number to over 8,420. There were 12 new deaths for a statewide toll of 102.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
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