H. B. 4373
(By Delegates Caputo, Guthrie, Barill, Fleischauer, Manypenny, Boggs, Hamilton, Walker, Pethtel, Marshall and D. Poling)
[Introduced February 1, 2012; referred to the
Committee on Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §21-16-1, §21-16-2, §21-16-3, §21-16-4, §21-16-5, §21-16-6 and §21-16-7, all relating to discouraging employers from closing call centers and other customer service operations in West Virginia and relocating overseas; notice requirement; and civil penalties.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §21-16-1, §21-16-2, §21-16-3, §21-16-4, §21-16-5, §21-16-6 and §21-16-7, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 16. SAVE WEST VIRGINIA CALL CENTER JOBS ACT.
§21-16-1. Short title.
This article shall be called the “Save West Virginia Call Center Jobs Act of 2011”.
As used in this article:
(1) The term “call center” means one or more locations that utilize telecommunications services in one or more of the following activities: Customer services, soliciting sales, reactivating dormant accounts, conducting surveys or research, fund raising, collection of receivables, receiving reservations, receiving orders or taking orders.
(2) The term “employer” means any business enterprise that employs for the purpose of customer service or back-office operations:
(A) Fifty or more employees, excluding part-time employees; or
(B) Fifty or more employees who in the aggregate work at least one thousand five hundred hours per week (exclusive of overtime).
(3) The term “part-time employee” means an employee who is employed for an average of fewer than twenty hours per week or who has been employed for fewer than six of the twelve months preceding the date on which notice is required.
(4) The term “commissioner” means the State Commissioner of Labor.
(5) The term “division” means the West Virginia Division of Labor.
§21-16-3. List of call centers that move overseas; notice and penalties.
(a) Notice requirement.-- (1) In General – An employer that intends to relocate a call center, or one or more facilities or operating units within a call center comprising at least thirty percent of the call center’s, or operating unit’s total volume when measured against the previous twelve-month average call volume of operations or substantially similar operations, from West Virginia to a foreign country shall notify the commissioner at least one hundred twenty days before such relocation.
(2) Penalty. -- An employer that violates subdivision (1) of this subsection is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed an amount of $10,000 for each day of such violation, except that the commissioner may reduce such amount for just cause shown.
(1) Compilation.-- The commissioner shall compile a semiannual list of all employers that relocate a call center, or one or more facilities or operating units within a call center comprising at least forty percent of the call center’s total volume of operations, from West Virginia to a foreign country.
(2) Distribution.-- The commissioner shall distribute the list required in subdivision (1) of this subsection to all state agencies.
§21-16-4. Grants or guaranteed loans.
(a) Ineligibility.-- Except as provided in subsection (b), and notwithstanding any other provision of law, an employer that appears on the list described in subsection (b), section three of this article is ineligible for any direct or indirect state grants or state guaranteed loans for five years after the date such list is published.
(b) Reversion.-- Except as provided in subsection (c) and notwithstanding any other provision of law, an employer that appears on the list described in subsection (b), section three of this article shall remit the unamortized value of any grant, guaranteed loans, tax benefits, or any other governmental support it has previously received to the state Treasurer .
(c) Exceptions.- - The commissioner in consultation with the appropriate agency providing a loan or grant, may waive the ineligibility requirement provided under subsection (a) of this section if the employer applying for such loan or grant demonstrates that a lack of such loan or grant would:
(1) Threaten national security;
(2) Result in substantial job loss in West Virginia; or
(3) Harm the environment.
§21-16-5. In-state procurement.
The head of each agency shall ensure that all state-business-related call center and customer service work be performed by state contractors or their agents or subcontractors entirely within the State of West Virginia. State contractors who currently perform such work outside of West Virginia shall have two years following the enactment of this article to comply with this section; Provided, That if any such grand fathered contractors add customer service employees who will perform work on such contracts, those new employees shall immediately be employed within the State of West Virginia.
§21-16-6. State benefits for workers.
No provision of this article may be construed to permit withholding or denial of payments, compensation, or benefits under any state law (including state unemployment compensation, disability payments, or worker retraining or readjustment funds) to workers employed by employers that relocate to a foreign country
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to discourage employers from closing call centers and customer service operations in the State of West Virginia and relocating overseas.
This article is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.