September 24, 2014– NYS Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance personnel scored a moral and legal victory this week when the New York State Legislature amended New York State Labor Laws in favor of granting these emergency service workers the right to be absent, with some limitations, from work during declared “States of Emergency”. While the legislation does not go as far as to make these absences paid leave time, it does prohibit employers from firing these employees in retaliation for the time off.
Historically, volunteer firefighters and other emergency workers, who risked their health, safety, and lives during crisis periods, often faced recrimination from employers that failed to acknowledge the value that their service provided for the improvement of the community. This recrimination was deemed to have a “chilling” effect on recruitment of qualified candidates, who feared retaliatory treatment from vindictive employers, yet it was, entirely, legal.
Volunteer Firefighters and emergency personnel have played vital roles in responding to significant crisis events, including 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, in recent years. The passing of the legislation was heralded by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, the largest association of volunteer firefighter’s in the state.
The new law is set to go into effect on December 22, 2014.
Read more: http://www.uticaod.com/article/20140924/News/140929664#ixzz3EM185O00
For the complete story, please see Michael Virtanen’s Associated Press story, which was circulated on September 24, 2014: http://www.uticaod.com/article/20140924/NEWS/140929664