City To Dock Workers' Time For Missing Snow Day

02/02/2011 06:15 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

This snow day was not what it seemed.

Thousands of city workers were either told to stay home, and led to believe they didn't have to work during last week's massive snow storm. Not so! Now tens of thousands of workers will be docked a day's pay, unless they come up with a valid excuse for missing work during last week's storm.

Many employees thought they didn't have to come in, after Mayor Bloomberg announced that all public schools, and nonemergency offices would be closed.

From the New York Times:

A memo went out to the heads of all city agencies on Monday saying that office employees will lose a day of vacation or comp time unless they write an acceptable excuse note.

"I thought I had a snow day," said a school psychologist in Manhattan whose job is to advise parents about special education services. She asked that her name be withheld because she was not authorized to speak to the news media. "I had no concept that it was a possibility that I was an emergency worker."

Those in danger of losing a paid day off include clerical workers, social workers and secretaries. "In short, nearly anyone who normally reports to a city office," the Times says.

Jason Post, the Mayor's spokesperson, was brief in his explanation about why city workers should have come in, even though their offices were closed.

Post said that, shortly after the Mayor's initial announcement, Bloomberg also told workers that they should make every effort to come to work.

"In most cases, city workers who didn't come in because of the snow will be asked to provide a simple statement to their timekeeper and, assuming it is found satisfactory, receive an excused day," Post said.

Michael Mendel, the secretary of the United Federation of Teachers, the city's teachers' union, said it doesn't make sense to require employees to go to buildings that are closed.

"How do you go to a closed office?" Mendel said. "It's insane."

At a press conference today, Bloomberg was not sympathetic to the workers' plight.

"I don't know how you were brought up, I was always brought up that you had an obligation to work," Bloomberg said. "When you look out the window and it's not as bad as you thought it was going to be, maybe a bell should go off and say, 'Hey, maybe I can get to work today,' "

The Mayor also added that, if workers truly couldn't come to work, they won't be punished.

"All they've got to do is say they couldn't get in," Mr. Bloomberg said. "It's not that hard."

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