Town OKs paid lunches, cash for vacation time

The Dunkirk Town Board took another stab at updating the employee handbook at a recent meeting.

Councilman Robert Penharlow brought it to the board’s attention that the New York State Labor Law requires employers to give employees working six hours or more a 30-minute lunch. The handbook stated employees working 4 hours or more would receive a 20-minute paid lunch on the job.

Town Attorney Jeffrey Passafaro said the law requires a 30-minute lunch but it is a board decision whether it is paid or unpaid.

The board discussed the dilemma and unanimously decided to give employees working four or more hours a 30-minute paid lunch on the job.

Since the last workshop where the employee handbook was discussed, Highway Superintendent Richard Butts submitted suggestions to the board including two 20-minute breaks and carrying over vacation time into the next year.

Supervisor Richard Purol dismissed Butts’ suggestions as “union benefits,” but said he would consider allowing employees to sell back up to one week of vacation days to the town.

The board was not unanimous on this, with councilmen Henry Walldorff and Robert Penharlow in opposition.

“We give them vacation time to take for their own benefit, to get away from work and get refreshed, not for extra cash,” Walldorff said.

Walldorff and Penharlow were outvoted.

The board did agree personal time would not be eligible to sell back to the town.

The board also eliminated “casual” employees from the handbook as there are none in the town.

Passafaro also pointed out, according to state labor laws, overtime occurs after 40 hours a week, not after eight hours worked in a day. He said it would be a town decision if it would like to have daily overtime.

The board decided to adjust this language after discussing how to assign overtime charges between the highway and water/sewer budget lines.

Purol said they would make the changes and submit it to the board in time for the March 19 meeting.

The board also held a special meeting where it passed a resolution of support for the Dunkirk Local Develop-ment Efficiency Grant, but did not guarantee funding until the price was made clear. Purol said this resolution had to be passed before the Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corp. meeting on March 14.

The board also approved surplus equipment with minimal value to be disposed of. Purol said the equipment included old radios and things the town can no longer use.