Few answers for former Vann's employees

MISSOULA COUNTY

POSTED: 6:21 PM Dec 06 2012   UPDATED: 6:25 PM Dec 06 2012
Vann’s lays off employees promised jobs
MISSOULA, Mont. -

NBC Montana has received many calls and emails from former Vann's employees looking for answers to questions they have about their jobs.

They're concerned about things like final pay, and COBRA insurance coverage.

When NBC Montana spoke with Vann's new CEO Greg Regelbrugge, he said everyone got a final paycheck, but employees have emailed our newsroom saying they haven't seen checks yet.

Montana State Code says employers have to the end of the pay period in which the employee was terminated or 15 days from the date of termination to issue final wages.  The code also states "all the unpaid wages of the employee are due and payable immediately upon separation unless the employer has a written personnel policy governing the employment that extends the time for payment of final wages to the employee's next regular payday for the pay period or to within 15 days from the separation, whichever occurs first."

NBC Montana has reached out to Vann's for clarification on their company policy, but have not gotten an answer.

NBC Montana's legal counsel tells us the issue of COBRA insurance is a bit more complicated. Since many of the terminated employees were temporary, they may not have had health insurance to begin with. Employees are only eligible for COBRA if they had enrolled in the employers health plan. 

Generally, most temporary employees are not eligible for health benefits.

There is some good news, however. Missoula Job Service, which has worked with folks laid off from Smurfit-Stone and Hostess, has a wealth of resources for those out of work.

"The best thing for a Vann's employee is probably to give our office a call and make an appointment. We really want to sit down with every individual, one-on-one, go into their individual situation and work with them on solutions that make sense for them personally," says Wolf Ametsbichler, the manager of Missoula Job Service.

"What we will do is provide information as to what they are entitled to, eligible for, what services we have, what other things we can plug them into in the community. For instance, retraining or to make sure they can get back to work as quickly as possible."

Ametsbichler says his office has seen just shy of 10 former Vann's employees, and encourages those who haven't come in to call and make an appointment.

Missoula Job Service can be reached at 728-7060