Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Employees One Step Closer to Receiving Bonuses for Working Through Pandemic

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin (Source: City of Birmingham)

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday, approved Mayor Randall Woodfin’s proposal to give $5,000 to each full-time city employee and $2,500 to each part-time employee.

These one-time payments will total about $16.8 million, all of which will come from the city’s American Rescue Plan funding. The city received the first half of its ARP funding — $74 million — last month and will receive the second next May.

The premium payments, designed to reward employees for their work through the pandemic, still need to be approved by the Jefferson County Personnel Board, which will meet June 8. If that happens, city employees can expect payments by June 30.

“Because these sacrifices by our employees were made this fiscal year, the mayor is requesting and recommending that our support is made manifest this fiscal year,” Kelvin Datcher, the city’s director of intergovernmental affairs, told the council, citing employees’ “unprecedented sacrifice and unprecedented service.”

Those sacrifices included the loss of merit raises, longevity pay and a cost-of-living adjustment, which were nixed from last year’s budget after the pandemic caused city revenues to dip. Employees also were paid for only three of their 12 allocated vacation days.

“Our employees, who make up the majority of our expenditures, also received the brunt of the cuts,” Woodfin said Tuesday. “We’re talking about a significant burden.”

For the next fiscal year, Woodfin has taken steps to undo some of those cutbacks, restoring merit raises, longevity pay and the COLA.

If approved next week, the premium payments will be considered taxable income and will be available only to active employees; those who retired during the pandemic will not be eligible.