CLEVELAND, OH – The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) announced today that it is implementing paid sick leave guarantees for its employees related to the coronavirus. Additionally, RTA officials are offering guidance to employees for wearing face masks, and have suspended non-essential business travel indefinitely.
“Any employee who is quarantined as a result of COVID-19 will be eligible for up to a two-week leave with full straight time pay,” said RTA CEO and General Manager, India Birdsong. “We want our employees to have the assurance that in the event their doctor diagnoses them with COVID-19 and orders a quarantine, they will be paid for the 14-day mandated time off, whether or not they have enough sick leave available in their accruals.”
The quarantine must be supported through medical documentation from the employee’s physician, the policy states. Employees will have to provide a return to work medical clearance from the doctor, as well.
Employees are being encouraged to call their doctor if they feel ill, and follow the guidance provided.
Additionally, RTA is allowing employees to wear face masks at their own discretion.
“While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says wearing a face mask is not recommended as a preventative measure against contracting Coronavirus, RTA is not prohibiting employees from wearing them at their own discretion,” Birdsong said.
“We continue to follow a rigorous and effective cleaning protocol that we began this week, which involves disinfecting every bus, train, paratransit and non-revenue vehicle each and every day. Our customers can rest assured that we are implementing the most stringent, well-established cleaning protocols using sanitizers approved by the CDC, and we will continue to do so until all threat of sickness has passed.”
RTA also began disinfecting touchable surfaces at bus districts, main office, rail stations, bus shelters and transit centers this week.
Regarding the travel policy, all non-essential, out of state business travel for all employees has been suspended until further notice. Employees are encouraged to seek out alternatives (e.g. webinars, live stream, conference calls) for upcoming conferences, seminars and meetings.
RTA is in regular communication with the City, County, State and Federal authorities and will continue to follow protocols and recommended guidance from health authorities, providing updates to employees as they become available.
“We want to thank our employees for their hard work and commitment to the RTA and the Greater Cleveland community,” Birdsong said. “Their dedication assures our customers that they can rely on us to provide safe, reliable, clean and courteous public transportation. I believe we’re delivering on our promises, and this region can rest assured we’re here when they need us most.”
Linda Scardilli Krecic