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(TRENTON) — Legislation Assemblymen Paul Moriarty, John Burzichelli and Fred Scalera sponsored to provide job protections for volunteer emergency responders has been signed into law by Senate President-acting Gov. Stephen Sweeney.

Under the Emergency Responders Employment Protection Act (A-1263), employers are prohibited from terminating, dismissing or suspending employees who fail to report to work because they’re providing volunteer emergency services.

“These volunteers selflessly sacrifice their time and risk their safety to protect our communities and families,” said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “The least we can do is provide them protections when it comes to their livelihoods. This is the moral and decent thing to do.”

“A volunteer firefighter or rescue squad worker should not risk losing a job because they’re devoting their time responding to an emergency,” said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “These are the people who save lives and protect us. They deserve protections, too.”

“This law is common sense and a longtime coming for those who risk their lives volunteering to help others,” said Scalera (D-Essex/Bergen/Passaic), a career firefighter and former deputy fire chief. “The last thing that should ever happen to a volunteer is to risk losing their job because they’re helping others, but thanks to this law that cannot happen in New Jersey ever again.”

The law doesn’t require an employer to pay an employee who misses work because that employee is rendering emergency services, and the protections afforded under the law apply only to volunteer emergency responders whose official duties include responding to a fire or emergency call.

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