Labor rights when a unit at a hospital shuts due to flooding caused by a patient pulling a fire alarm?

A patient in my psych unit flooded the floor. All the patients were discharged and we were called in to clean. It is speculated that it may take up to a month to re-open. What is the employer obligated to provide during this time period – pay, unemployment?

Asked on December 31, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You are eligble to unemployment but that's it. Your employer, absent a union agreement or eamployment contract to the contrary, is not oligated to provide you with any compensation during the time that it is closed. You are only required to be paid for time that you actually work.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The employer is not obligated to provide anything: if the facility is closed and/or you are not working, they do not have to pay you anything. Employers don't have to pay you when you are not working.
You can apply to the state for unemployment, and should be able to get it, subject to any waiting or eligibility period. Contact your state's unemployment office to apply.

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