Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Snow closures mean lost wages and firings for many low-income workers

WBUR has done two great stories on this issue lately, here, and here. Both are very well-done human-interest stories that are worth the time to read.

Our family is dealing with this as well. We don't have sick time or vacation days, so we don't get paid if we can't come in due to illness, snow, transit being shut down, job being closed for the day, or needing to care for a child. We usually budget for this, but with all of the snow days lately, it's added up. There are no laws in Massachusetts or federally requiring jobs to pay workers in these situations. There is a law for certain types of hourly employees that they must be paid for three hours if they show up ready to work and then are told they are not needed, but this doesn't apply if they are given notice that the site is closed or they should not come in for whatever reason.

I guess the silver lining in this is that our food stamps will be reinstated, and at a generous amount at least for a few months, since we've made so little money the past few weeks. Oh, and that tax refunds are coming soon, so we'll be able to pay the bills this month, and then hopefully it will stop snowing. It's a little scary though knowing that even after the snow clears, there is still always the chance that some sort of natural disaster or home maintenance emergency or something can come up that causes us to need money and/or not be able to show up for work. And that the people who have the power to choose whether to be understanding about these things are always people with paid vacation days and healthy savings accounts.

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