NJ Emergency Responder Bill Could Help Hatzolah Volunteers


hatzolah1Firefighters, rescue squad members and other volunteer emergency responders, like Hatzolah volunteers,┬áin New Jersey may soon get some assistance of their own from state lawmakers. The Assembly Budget Committee is expected to give final consideration tomorrow to legislation that would bar employers from firing or suspending employees who don’t report to work because they’re providing emergency services. The bill (A-1263) would not require employers to pay the worker for the missed day. But employees would be able to charge their absence as a paid vacation or sick day.And if an employee is actively engaged in providing emergency services for two or more consecutive work days, the officials in charge will have to provide appropriate notice to the volunteer’s employer each day they’re required to be absent.

If the committee approves the measure, it will go to the full Assembly, where it would likely be voted on Thursday.

“These volunteers selflessly sacrifice their time and risk their safety to protect our communities and families,” said Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Turnersville, who is co-sponsoring the bill. “The least we can do is provide them protections when it comes to their livelihoods. This is the moral and decent thing to do.”

Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Paulsboro, another co-sponsor, voiced similar views.

“A volunteer firefighter or rescue squad worker should not risk losing a job because they’re devoting their time responding to an emergency,” he said.

The protections in the bill apply only to volunteer emergency responders whose official duties include responding to a fire or emergency call.

Administrative and auxiliary personnel are excluded.

{CBS Broadcasting/Star Ledger/Matzav.com Newscenter}