Montana House Passes Bills That May Cause Criminal Penalties, Disastrous Results for Employers

March 03, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Jeanne M. Bender

Two bills that are progressing through the Montana Legislature would impose significant restrictions on employers’ staffing response to emergencies and their ability to manage unemployment compensation eligibility for recent hires.

Montana law currently limits the workday in certain occupations and for certain employers (e.g., mining, smelting, school districts, and state and municipal governments) to eight hours. However, employers may circumvent the restriction by obtaining prior agreement with the employee or, in cases of emergency, when life or property is in imminent danger. House Bill (HB) 300 would eliminate the emergency provision, thereby making it a crime for both the employee and employer to work more than eight hours in a day to deal with the emergency unless they had previously agreed to the extended schedule.

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