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PSS teachers to get summer pay

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PUBLIC School System teachers will receive their summer pay this week, PSS interim finance director Kimo Rosario said.

But in a memorandum, PSS also informed the teachers that the release of summer pay may have an impact on their eligibility to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

PSS believes that the summer pay “should not count as income or earning for the purpose of PUA eligibility,” but added that the CNMI Department of Labor has yet to make a determination of this issue.

PSS advised teachers to direct their questions to CNMI DOL regarding PUA eligibility.

Marianas High School teacher Jeremy Rother said he agrees with PSS. “Our summer pay is back pay that we earned before we were furloughed. It should not count against our eligibility just because PSS waited until the summer to pay its 190-day contract employees,” he said, adding, “if the money had been paid out over the time we were earning it, it definitely would not count against our [PUA] eligibility.”

The summer pay will be prorated because most of the teachers taught for 146 days only and not 190 days due to the closure of schools as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The target disbursement date was supposed to be on Friday, June 19, but some teachers told Variety they had not yet received the payment.

The total estimated cost of the summer pay is $5,053,280, and the primary funding source is the Education Stabilization Fund from the federal government.

The teachers include locally funded employees of PSS, and most of them are on furlough. The summer pay cost for this group of employees is over $4 million.

For its furloughed employees, the PSS will “hold” Group Life and Health Insurance payments, which will be remitted once the employees are reinstated.

The GHLI program does not accept payments on behalf of furloughed employees, PSS stated.

 

 

 

 

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