ANNE C. WALKER, Chief Clerk
Relating to the welfare to work protection act.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:
Section 1. 1. Sections 1 to 4 of this act shall be known and may be cited as the "Welfare to Work Protection Act".
2. For purposes of sections 1 to 4 of this act, the following terms shall mean:
(1) "Department", the department of social services;
(2) "Direct placement program", any program in which an office of the department has a prearranged agreement with a specific employer or employers to supply such employer or employers with applicants;
(3) "Employer", an employer that operates the site where a public assistance recipient is employed or placed, and shall not mean any placement agency or temporary help service firm;
(4) "Hourly wage value of the TANF benefits", the total amount of the monthly benefits received by a participant divided by the monthly number of hours that such participant is assigned to work or is employed by an employer in a subsidized or unsubsidized work activity;
(5) "Supplemental wage assistance employment position", any position in which the state of Missouri, through the department or any of its divisions, supplements the wages of such position as an incentive to an employer for hiring designated individuals;
(6) "TANF benefits", temporary assistance for needy families benefits provided pursuant to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, as amended;
(7) "Work first program", a program in the department of social services implementing the provisions of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, as amended.
Section 2. Any adult receiving benefits through the work first program employed by or assigned to a subsidized or unsubsidized work activity with an employer shall be considered an employee of the employer for purposes of all state and federal labor laws, including, but not limited to, laws pertaining to collective bargaining, occupational safety and health, workplace discrimination, unemployment insurance, workers' compensation and minimum wage. Each participant employed by or assigned to a subsidized or unsubsidized work activity with an employer shall receive paid sick, holiday, vacation and all other leave time equivalent to, and on the same basis as, the leave time paid to regular employees. For purposes of this section, "employer" means the employer that operates the site where the recipient is employed or placed, and does not include any placement agency or temporary help service organization.
Section 3. 1. A supplemental wage assistance employment position shall be a new position within that place of employment. Such position shall not be created as the result of, or shall not result in, any of the following:
(1) Displacement or partial displacement of current employees, including, but not limited to, overtime currently being worked by employees, or a reduction in nonovertime work hours, wages or employment;
(2) A strike, lock out, or other bona fide labor dispute or violation of any existing collective bargaining agreements between employees and employers; or
(3) The filling of a position created by termination, layoff or reduction in workforce.
2. The department of social services shall produce a workplace impact statement using a reputable research contractor to determine the impact of wage supplementation, direct placement or other welfare to work placement programs before assigning workers or granting subsidies to any employer. Welfare to work clients shall not be placed in any work site where an adverse impact on other workers is projected.
3. Any individual or employee who believes that he or she has been adversely affected by a violation of subsection 1 of this section or an organization that is authorized to represent such individual or employee shall be afforded an opportunity to grieve it. Such individual or employee, or such individual's or employee's organization, shall first attempt to remedy the alleged violation through a meeting with the employer within thirty days of the request for a meeting. If the complaint is not resolved to the satisfaction of the individual or employee, such individual or employee may appeal to the department of labor and industrial relations. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with rules and notification requirements adopted by the department of labor and industrial relations and a decision shall be rendered within forty-five days of such hearing. If there is an existing grievance procedure in a collective bargaining agreement, such procedure shall be followed. Remedies shall include reinstatement, and retroactive pay and benefits.
4. Nothing in this section shall preempt or supersede any provision of state law which provides greater protection for employees from job displacement.
Section 4. 1. Direct placement programs shall not sanction the public assistance recipient who refuses employment or an offer of employment for the following reasons and conditions:
(1) Three or fewer employers are direct placement program participants in a given county with a population of thirty-five thousand or more;
(2) The employment or offer of employment requires travel to and from the place of employment and the recipient's home which exceeds 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; or
(3) The employment or offer of employment involves conditions that are in violation of applicable health and safety standards.
2. Nothing in this section shall preempt or supersede any provision of state law which
provides greater protections for public assistance recipients from sanctioning.