IM-116 08/26/99 WELFARE-TO-WORK PROTECTION ACT
|WELFARE-TO-WORK PROTECTION ACT|
|During the 1999 legislative session, the
General Assembly passed Senate Bill 387. Included in this bill is
"The Welfare-to-Work Protection Act" that outlines the rights of individuals
placed in employment through the Temporary Assistance program. This
memorandum discusses good cause reasons for refusal to accept employment
including a minimum number of employers participating in direct job placement
and the travel time to employment. There has also been a change in
the grievance procedure for employees who feel they have been displaced
by Wage Supplementation placements.
GOOD CAUSE FOR REFUSAL TO ACCEPT EMPLOYMENT
Senate Bill 387 outlines good cause reasons for refusal to accept employment regarding reasonable travel to and from employment and selection of available employment. The following good cause reasons incorporate the new legislation (in bold) and the existing policy. Temporary Assistance participants will not be sanctioned when refusing employment for the following reasons and conditions:
o The participant is referred for direct job placement and there are three or fewer employers participating in the direct placement program which are available to the participant;
o The employment or offer of employment requires travel to and from the place of employment and the participant's home in excess of a total of two hours in round trip time, inclusive of the time necessary to transport family members to a school or place providing child care, or when walking is the only available means of transportation, the round trip is more than four miles;
o The employment or offer of employment is in violation of applicable federal, state, or local health and safety standards;
o The wage does not meet or exceed the federal minimum wage. If the federal minimum wage is not applicable, the wage can not be substantially less than the wage normally paid for similar work in that labor market;
o The daily and weekly hours of work exceed those customary to the occupation;
o The position is vacant due to a strike, lockout, or other bona fide labor dispute;
o The individual is required to work for an employer contrary to the conditions of the individual's existing membership in the union governing that occupation;
o The individual is not physically able to engage in such employment.
DISPLACEMENT PROTECTION FOR EXISTING EMPLOYEES
Wage Supplementation placements are restricted to new positions to avoid displacement of existing workers. Any individual or employee who believes that he/she has been adversely affected by the placement of a wage supplemented employee shall be afforded the opportunity to grieve it. The individual or employee, or an organization that is authorized to represent the individual or employee, shall first attempt to remedy the alleged violation through a meeting with the employer within thirty days of the request of the meeting. If the complaint is not resolved, the individual or employee may appeal to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations commission. A hearing shall be conducted by the commission and a decision shall be rendered within forty-five days of the hearing. If the individual or employee is aggrieved by the decision of the commission, he/she may file a petition for review in the circuit court in which he/she resides within thirty days of the date of the decision.
Prior to Senate Bill 387 employer grievances were filed with the Division of Family Services.
Senate Bill 387 requires the Department of Social Services to maintain a list of all employers participating in the Wage Supplementation, Direct Job Placement and Community Work Experience programs. The list will include the number of participants placed with each employer year to date. State office will produce the list and distribute it to the area offices quarterly. The listing is available to the public upon request.