If you work for any of New York’s correctional facilities—and especially if you are a member of the Correctional Officers’ Benevolent Association (COBA) of New York—you might already know about the latest bill up for consideration in the New York State Legislature. The bill is meant to expand on Governor Cuomo’s COVID-19 protections for people who must be absent from work due to having to quarantine or needing to recover from the virus. However, this bill will not just be helpful and relevant to COBA NYC—all New York civil service employees can benefit from it.
Chronic Absences by the Numbers
The bill’s creation took root in complaints from correctional officers about being deemed “chronically absent” by the correctional facilities for having excessive absences due to being ill from COVID-19. While the Governor’s protections allowed for employees to miss work due to COVID-19, they did not extend to the correctional facilities’ rules about “chronic absences.” As a result, the following occurred:
- 900 city correctional officers tested positive for COVID-19 and had to appeal the “chronic absence” designation for days missed
- 546 of those appeals were approved
- 327 of those appeals were denied
- 20 of those appeals are still in process
Essentially, this means that about one-third of the appeals were not even approved, meaning those correctional facility workers would be penalized for excessive absences despite those absences being a direct result of the pandemic and its contagiousness.
The Purpose of the Bill
Overall, such policies seemed as if the correctional facilities were encouraging correctional officers to show up for work despite being contagious with COVID-19, which would put the health of fellow officers as well as prisoners in jeopardy. Once labeled “chronically absent,” no matter the cause, the careers of many correctional officers would be hampered from advancement, among other things.
The bill was developed by Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) and Assemblyman Peter Abbate Jr. (D-Bensonhurst) who proclaimed that disciplinary actions should not be taken against public employees for absences related to the pandemic.
Contact a Manhattan Civil Service Employee Defense Attorney
If you are a New York employee who has been assigned a designation of “chronic absences” by the state’s correctional facilities, especially with the new bill on the verge of passing, you might have a strong case against the correctional facilities. If that is your circumstance, it is imperative that you contact a highly skilled New York civil service job defense lawyer. Reach out to the experienced team from Joey Jackson Law, PLLC, at 1-833-JOEYJACKSON or 833-563-9522 to explore your legal options.