Still have job today? Look out for MondayIf you're worried...


April 23, 1993|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Staff Writer

Still have job today? Look out for Monday

If you're worried about getting laid off, you probably can relax today.

Bosses don't tend to lay people off on Fridays. Monday is the day to be worried about.

A study of layoffs so far this year shows that 40 percent were announced on Mondays. A third were announced on Tuesdays.

The ratio generally declines during the week, says Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a New York-based job placement firm.

I= Only 10 percent of the layoffs were announced on Fridays.

UFCW readies merger with smaller union

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which has a large local in Baltimore, is preparing to merge with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

Both unions represent grocery store clerks and food processing workers, including poultry plant workers, across the country. But the RWDSU has only 140,000 members, compared with the 1.3 million in the UFCW.

The RWDSU has no office, and only a few members, in Maryland. But some members here have been in the news.

The Maryland Human Relations Commission last year supported sex discrimination charges by RWDSU-represented female workers at Cumberland Macaroni Manufacturing Co., for example. The panel ruled the Western Maryland pasta maker should not have called back laid-off men with lower seniority than some of the laid-off women.

Thomas Russow, president of the UFCW's Local 27 in Baltimore, says the proposed merger awaits approval by both unions' members in votes this summer.

Workers' comp plan irks lower-paying companies

The state has approved a plan to give high-wage construction contractors a break on workers' compensation premiums, and that has some lower-paying companies miffed.

J. Frank Nayden, associate commissioner of the state's Insurance Division, defends the discount program, scheduled to start July 1. The program, designed to aid construction firms that pay more than $15 an hour, is legal and logical, he says.

Because Maryland's workers' compensation system caps its payouts to injured workers at $494 a week, an employer who pays workers $15 an hour gets the same insurance benefit as someone who pays workers $20 an hour, he explains.

But the higher-wage employer has had a bigger insurance bill because, until now, premiums have been based on total amount salaries.

The new program won't eliminate the penalty for higher-wage employers. But the discount will mean that those who pay their

workers better won't be have to pay so much more to get the same benefit as lower-wage employers.

Still, contractors who pay lower wages have asked the state to reconsider the discount. They fear that insurers will make up the difference by increasing rates for other construction firms.

Victor Cyran, executive director of Associated Builders & Contractors of Maryland, which represents 1,200 nonunion construction firms around the state, charges the plan is a boon to unionized contractors. Such companies will get the discounts -- which range from 10 percent to 30 percent -- since "$15-an-hour is on the high end for us and on the low end for them."

Marie Kinietz, spokeswoman for the Maryland branch of the National Council on Compensation Insurance, says the discount program is fair.

She notes that high-paying companies will probably still pay more than low-wage companies. And she says insurers will award the discounts only to employers with good safety records.

Although the state has already approved the plan, Mr. Nayden will consider making some amendments because of the contractors' concerns. He will take comments through May 6.

Jobless insurance funding is altered

This year's legislative session has set into motion some small, but important, changes in the way unemployment insurance will be funded and its benefits paid out.

The legislature passed a bill requested by Stephanie Altbier, a Silver Spring woman who lost her unemployment benefits because her former employer made her collect the money built up in her pension plan.

Although she immediately rolled over the $10,000 into an individual retirement account, the state cut off her jobless payments and billed her for the money she had already received.

Laid-off Marylanders won't have to worry about that problem if, as expected, the governor signs the bill. As long as the unemployed deposit pension payouts into other retirement accounts within 10 days of getting a check, they can keep collecting unemployment insurance.

In a related matter, some employers had complained that they sometimes got stuck with the full unemployment bill of a laid-off worker even if they had employed the person for only a short time.

A measure awaiting the governor's signature would prorate the costs of unemployment insurance according to the worker's time on a job during the eligibility period.

Audrey L. Randall, who follows legislation for the state's unemployment insurance office, said some of its pet bills were killed again this year.

They included a proposal to fine companies that don't obey the )) 60-day plant closing notice law, and to allow the department to sue corporate officers personally if their companies fail to pay unemployment insurance.

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