First responders and state employees impacted by trauma during the response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School will receive 40 hours of compensatory time under a deal reached by the state and six state employee unions.
The comp time benefit is intended to recognize the extraordinary nature of the tragedy and that many of these individuals took sick and vacation time to deal with personal matters related to the incident.
The money for the benefits will come from a privately-funded foundation set up by the legislature earlier this year.
It’s unknown at the moment how many employees will receive the benefit, but the 40 hours must be used by the qualifying employee within a year. It will be up to the respective state agencies to offer up the names of the employees involved in the response by Dec. 31. If an employee from one of the six unions feels they should have been included they can attempt to get their name on a list, but the final decision would be made by the Office of Labor Relations. The benefits also will be extended to similarly impacted, non-represented employees.
“The men and women directly involved in the response to this horrible tragedy in many cases needed time to recover from the severe nature of what they experienced through simply doing their jobs,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement. “This is only one step, but it is important that we recognize the professionals who are there during unimaginable moments of difficulty, and that we continue to support them.”
The announcement of the benefits from Malloy’s office included statements from the heads of all six labor unions and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.
Sgt. Andrew Matthews, president of the Connecticut State Police Union, thanked Malloy for his work following the tragedy.
“There is no question that everyone’s life changed that day and every state employee who witnessed the tragedy firsthand was in need of the Malloy administration’s support to cope with the consequences of the horrific scene that may never be erased from their minds,” Matthews said. “State troopers, both on and off-duty, ran towards the face of evil and witnessed one of the most violent events our country has ever seen. As a result, some continue to suffer from the effects.”
The General Assembly will have an opportunity to vote on the deal when it returns in February. If it does nothing, the plan will go into effect within 30 days.