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City Implements Two-Tier COVID Leave Policy

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In a memo to city employees, Wichita Falls announced a new policy of making extended sick leave available only to those who are considered “unvaccinated” by the city from COVID-19.

The City of Wichita Falls operates a “sick leave” pool for municipal employees, where unused time off can be “donated” to other employees. Historically, such pools are put in place to allow employees to help coworkers needing additional paid time off to cope with an illness they themselves or a family member are suffering from.

The city’s new policy, according to an email sent by the city manager’s executive assistant, adds new qualifiers to which employees can access the “pool” when they need “extended leave related to COVID-19 illnesses.”

Screen capture of the email sent to city employees.

“For employees who have contracted COVID-19, unvaccinated employees who contract the virus and who have expended all leave accruals are not eligible for the sick pool,” according to the new policy of the City of Wichita Falls.

However, the policy adds, “Vaccinated employees who experience a breakthrough infection of COVID-19 are eligible for the sick pool.”

As a reminder, this is a pool of time donated by city employees – not time issued by the city itself.

The employee who shared the information asked to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisals from the city manager and other top city hall officials.

Wichita Falls’ city manager, Darron Leiker, was not available for questions about the policy, or the overall work environment at City Hall where employees fear reprisals. The public affairs office asked not to be quoted on the issue, and the city’s Human Resources division did not return a call as promised.

One senior city official referred to the “sick pool” as a “luxury.” Another said employees who don’t want their

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