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COVID-19 Hazard Pay

Discussion in 'Employment, Labor, Work Issues' started by Incognitive95, Aug 2, 2020.

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  1. Incognitive95

    Incognitive95 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Missouri
    I work for Missouri Department of Corrections, and about a month or two ago there was approval for a hazard-like pay stipend for all employees of 250 dollars a pay period for whenever there is a staff member or offender in a prison that has tested positive with COVID-19.
    The catch of this is that if a person has an unscheduled absence, or has refused mandatory overtime at any point during the pay-period that person is no longer eligible for this pay despite continuing to work in an environment with confirmed cases. Is this even legal for them to do? From my perspective if a staff member works for one second inside the prison with confirmed cases they should be eligible for that stipend. Given the guidelines, a person can work 14/15 days out of a pay period, and won't be eligible due to that 1 day.
     
  2. Incognitive95

    Incognitive95 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Additionally, we have a screening before entering the prison asking us multiple questions in regards to COVID-19. If we run a fever, and we get sent home we are being required to utilize our own sick time. Wouldn't this be covered under administrative leave at the point we attempted to enter our worksite but were directed to return home?
     
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Your employer can set many conditions if it chooses. It can also eliminate the bonus.
    Your best option is to understand and follow the rules they set.


    No. If you are sick then it is sick time, even if you don't feel sick.
     
  4. welkin

    welkin Member

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    And what if employee is not sick but refused entry?

    Employers are not doctors to diagnose if someone is sick. They can set policy that if your temperature is elevated to some arbitrary degree that you will be denied entry to the business. That is not voluntary sick leave (because someone is sick), vacation pay, or PTO.

    I disagree with you. But I don't know if this post is actual or hypothetical.

    If actual, OP should have applied for UE when he got home.

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information | Missouri Labor.
     
  5. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    The law does not give one hoot if you ever receive a stipend. If you are being paid according to the FLSA and no legally binding and enforceable contracts are violated, the employer may make any conditions he chooses on additional pay.
     
  6. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    That isn't the case. They are sent home based on the results of a medical screening. Many large employers are now using a combination of temperature reading and questionnaire to identify those at risk. There is no requirement that a doctor be involved.

    Is there a requirement that sick leave be used voluntarily? Can an employer not send someone home if they have reason to believe an employee is contagious and a risk to others?

    From the link posted above:
    "Under Missouri unemployment law, most people who are currently employed and quit are not eligible for unemployment benefits. If an employer offers sick leave and/or other leave or remote work options to address COVID-19 in lieu of layoffs, then a person who quits on his/her own volition would not qualify for unemployment benefits.
     
  7. welkin

    welkin Member

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    The person didn't quiet on his own. And no, the employer cannot require someone to take sick leave unless they take time off voluntarily.
     
  8. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Show us the law that says so.
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    A privately owned legal discussion website has no ability to make the state of MO do, or NOT do anything.

    However, if you THINK an action is illegal, the way to resolve the disagreement is to take the matter to court.

    You could proceed "pro se", or "hire" yourself a lawyer to do so on your behalf.

    If other employees think your assessment is correct, some of them MIGHT decide to kick in a few bucks and the lot of you could have the matter adjudicated before the proper court in Missouri.
     
  10. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    To be clear, the person did not quit and was not terminated but is still employed- which is why unemployment is out of the question. No, they can not be forced to use their sick time, but if they opt not to they won't be paid.
     
  11. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    I ask again. Show me the law that says they can't be forced to use sick time.
     
  12. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    That is backward. There would have to be a law saying that sick time can be forced. It is more a policy issue than law.

    Rather than use sick time unwillingly an employee could just claim nothing for that day. They would save their sick time but forfeit the pay.
     
  13. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    No, that's not how employment law works. In the absence of a law saying that sick time cannot be forced, it can. You're quite right about one thing; it is a policy issue, rather than a law. As there is no law, it's up to the employer's policy. A policy CAN allow for forced sick time. An employee does not have the guaranteed right under the law to take unpaid time and "save" his paid time off for a later date. That's what paid time off - all forms of paid time off - is for; the fill the gaps when they would otherwise be unpaid.

    If you believe otherwise, then once again, prove it.
     
  14. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    What on earth gave you two those ideas?
     
  15. welkin

    welkin Member

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    Did you miss the fact that OP is employed by the state? And that only if an employer has a written policy that the employer can force sick leave at the time the employee was hired can they make an employee use sick leave. And as a state employee working for the Dept. of Corrections, there may be a bargaining agreement.

    There is nothing I have found that says an employer can force an employee to use their sick leave. So if you can find something other than your opinion, please post it.

    Remember here that OP was ready willing and able to work. It was his employer that turned him away.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
  16. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    What you're looking for is something that says they can't...and that was made clear above.
     
  17. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Covered in post #5 (maybe YOU missed that).
    That's where you have it backwards.
    Again...covered by post #5.
     
  18. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    It seems you haven't found anything that says they can't either.
     
  19. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    So, for the third time I ask you, show us the law that prohibits the employer from forcing the use of sick time.

    Keep in mind that an action is considered legal unless there is a law that says it's not. So I don't have to show you a law that gives him permission to do so; his permission is implicit unless you can show me where is it is prohibited.

    And no, I did not miss that the employee is employed by the state. It doesn't matter who the employer is; unless there is a specific law that says the employer can't, the employer can.,
     
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  20. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Everybody, pay attention. This tit for tat between responders has gotten real tiresome. Welkin, your post #4 was a trollish attempt to start an argument between you and responders. Well, you succeeded and the thread has gotten out of hand. Fair warning. Don't do it again. If you have nothing constructive to say TO an original poster, don't pick at anything any responder says. As for the rest of you, you should know better than to feed a troll. Let's try to put a stop to it. This thread got out of hand so I'm closing it. In the future y'all might find your tit for tat comments edited out.
     
    PayrollHRGuy likes this.

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