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Newton county employees get three paid holidays restored

COVINGTON -- Newton County employees are getting an additional three paid holidays restored.

An insurance premium rebate from Cigna required by the Affordable Healthcare Act was approved by commissioners at the Dec. 18 meeting to be applied to pay employees for eight hours on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

"This is an item that is perhaps not sustainable in (fiscal year) 2014. We don't know what the budget is going to bring," said County Manager John Middleton.

Employees have been required to take 15 paid holidays in past years, with five of those restored in this year's budget and the additional three meaning employees will be paid for eight holidays this fiscal year.

"I think one of the things we all wholeheartedly agree on is our county employees have borne the brunt of the economic downturn of this county," said Commissioner Nancy Schulz. "We've given them a lot of extra responsibilities and asked them to hang with us and do their jobs, and I think it's very important that we honor them with this holiday pay." Schulz said she also hopes the board will put restoring holiday pay to employees at the forefront of upcoming budget discussions.

The holiday pay was distributed by separate payroll checks on Dec. 21.