JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The topic of voluntary furloughs for county workers was the main topic of discussion during Monday night’s Craighead County Quorum Court meeting.
County Judge Marvin Day said the state’s Shared Work Program through the Division of Workforce Services allows for work-reduced hours. Furloughed employees whose hours were reduced anywhere from 10% to 40% of their regular work hours would receive both state and federal unemployment benefits to help make up the rest of their salary.
“If they are taking off one day a week, they can file for unemployment for that one day,” Day said.
For the county to enter into the program, they have to make a commitment not to lay off any employees.
Day said right now, there are talking with county employees who might be interested in the program.
The program was first discussed during an elected official meeting last Thursday.
Day said people were interested in the program so fact sheets were passed out to them last Friday.
“Some employees were concerned, which we totally understand,” Day said.
The judge said some of this staff will be meeting with employees from different county departments to explain how the program works.
He went on to say if the employee believes it is a good fit, and they want to help the county save some money, then the county is all for it.
The program allows them to get unemployment from the state and also draw the $600 unemployment benefit from the federal government.
“It can be financially beneficial for some employees and beneficial to the county as well,” Day said. “We just don’t feel like we have enough data that we have to make this a mandatory thing”
Day said it would not affect patrols if sheriff’s deputies and staff accepted the furlough.
“We will not have one single decrease in the quality of the services that we’re providing to the people of Craighead County,” Day said.
If the current situation were to continue for the rest of the year, Day said the county could face a $2.6 million revenue shortfall.
But, he is optimistic things will get better.
Also during Monday’s meeting, the quorum court passed an ordinance amending the 2020 annual operating budget to add funds from a Blue & You Foundation Mini-Grant to the circuit court, detention center, election commission, county judge, the office of emergency management, tax assessor, Lake City District Court, veteran services and the Craighead County Sheriff’s Office to buy portable Automatic External Defibrillators to be placed in offices, departments, and sheriff’s deputy vehicles.