Wichita Co. making sure employees get OT while working disasters

Wichita County Commissioners Court
Wichita County Commissioners Court

WICHITA COUNTY, TX (KAUZ) - A city of Wichita Falls employee sent to south Texas to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey wasn't paid overtime for their long hours in the disaster zone. Now that they are back, Wichita County is taking steps to make sure county employees don't find themselves in the same boat.

The city's current ordinance does not require the state to reimburse Wichita Falls to pay those workers overtime. Before this Wichita County didn't have an ordinance in place for disaster situations either. Now it does.

Monday morning County Commissioners made changes to an ordinance to require the state to reimburse Wichita County during a state disaster so they can pay their employee's regular pay the entire time they are working.

Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom wants to make sure the county is paid the money it's due following a disaster.

"There were people down there that were getting paid the additional hours but our people weren't," Judge Gossom said. "So we want to make it uniform. It's an infrequent occurrence, but when it does let's make sure we are doing it right."

Under the new rules, moving forward exempt employees will earn their regular pay for overtime hours. Non-exempt employees will be paid overtime.

Judge Gossom used the most recent power outage in Electra as an example. Since it was not declared a disaster, some county workers who worked long hours getting the power back on were not paid their overtime hours.

The city of Wichita Falls is expected to look into ways they can reimburse that employee and could consider changing it's ordinance regarding overtime pay in disaster situations also.

Stay with Newschannel 6 as we follow this developing story.

Copyright 2017 KAUZ News All Rights Reserved