Shipyard workers say they should’ve been paid for time in quarantine

Investigative

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Friday paychecks for 15 workers at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard came up a lot lighter than they expected — and now they’re wondering how to make ends meet.

They thought they would be paid for their time away during quarantine after one of their members got the coronavirus, but that pay never happened.

“We were told that we were actually supposed to be paid for this period of time and we were supposed to stay home,” said Leif Hansen, a shipfitter, after a member of his team tested positive in mid-November.

Hansen has his mother and nephew living at home, and “some families have two or three children,” so the lack of two weeks’ pay is creating a major hardship.

The group of shipfitters, electricians, and plumbers are working on the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier for defense contractor Epsilon Systems Solutions. They average about $25 per hour or gross wages of $1,000 a week.

Hansen says he had a similar situation over the summer when he had to quarantine and did get paid.

“It occurred July 13 and I was out for two weeks, and they did pay for that situation.”

Hansen has worked for Epsilon for two years. He says the current project aboard the Bush began in October and it’s unclear when it will finish.

Hansen says the company’s HR department told the affected workers they should file a claim for unemployment for the two weeks.

“People have families. We should not have to go to an outside source, we should not have to go to unemployment just to get paid for this.”

10 On Your Side contacted the local office for Epsilon, they referred us to their corporate headquarters in San Diego. We’ll update this story with any response.


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