Governor Jack Markell signed House Bill 21 and House Bill 22 Sept. 8 at Brandywine Hundred Fire Company to protect volunteer responders from employer discrimination or discipline stemming from their volunteer responsibilities.
The legislation was drafted from an incident in which a Delaware firefighter was fired by a private employer after sustaining burns to his hands while fighting a house fire.
"Our volunteer emergency responders are ready and willing to protect others each time a call for help comes in," said Governor Markell. "This legislation provides them with a bit of protection in return, allowing them to focus their full attention towards ensuring the safety and well-being of those in need."
Known as the Volunteer Emergency Responders Job Protection Act, HB 21 prevents an employer from firing or taking disciplinary action against an employee:
- Who misses up to 7 days of work while responding to a governor-declared state of emergency.
- Who misses or up to 14 days of work while responding to a president-declared state of emergency.
- Who is absent from work due to injury sustained when acting as a volunteer emergency responder.
House Bill 22 prohibits employers from discriminating in the hiring or discharging of any person because of that person's membership in a volunteer emergency responder organization.