Posted: Feb. 21, 2003
OBERLE: LAW NEEDED
TO PROTECT WORKERS DURING STATE OF EMERGENCY
legislator is proposing a new law to protect employees that obey a
proclamation of emergency issued by the governor.
William A. Oberle Jr., R-Beecher’s Lot, said he's heard many
complaints this week from workers who were told they would not be
paid when they didn't report for work during the "state of
Due to the
severe winter storm that struck the area, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner
declared a state of emergency at 9:20 a.m. Sunday morning. It was
not lifted until 6 a.m. Tuesday. During the state of emergency, the
governor ordered that "only emergency vehicles and those responding
to the snow storm be permitted on
law (Title 20, Section 3125), people violating the governor's order
could have been fined between $50 and $500 and been sentenced up to
six months in prison.
"I think it's
absurd that people obeying the governor's state of emergency
proclamation should be penalized by their employer," Rep.Oberle
said. "Docking the pay of workers under these circumstances would
require employees to break the law if they wanted to get paid."
legislation sponsored by Rep. Oberle would prohibit all employers
from docking the wages of employees who were unable to report during
a state of emergency because they were barred from traveling on the
roads. The bill would also stop employers from forcing workers to
take vacation, personal or sick days to make up for the missed time.
think a bill like this was going to be necessary, but from
complaints I've been hearing, too many employers are holding their
employees accountable for something beyond their control," Rep.
who co-owns and operates a small business, says employers have a
responsibility to safeguard the well-being of the people that work
for them. "I think it is unfortunate that some employers need to
have that responsibility spelled out in the form of a state law."
says he expects to introduce the bill when the General Assembly
returns to work after the budget break on March 18. "I fully expect
to receive broad support from my colleagues in both chambers for
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