Jeffco employees return to work

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - After 72 long days off the job, hundreds of Jefferson County workers return to work. However, the work week will be shorter, meaning less pay. They could be right back in the same situation, depending on a new occupational tax.

This week, the Jefferson County Commission praised the County Employee Association for helping and supporting the workers who were placed on leave. The association says returning to a 32 hour work week will still be tough.

The County sent letters to the employees telling them to return to work Monday morning.

The employees were placed on leave without pay because of questions over the county's job tax. Alabama lawmakers passed a new tax but called for a referendum vote in a couple of years. If the voters reject the tax it must be phased out.

Jefferson County employees realize they could be back out of work again in a few years. The employees say they plan to be politically active in the coming year.

Last week, Commission President Bettye Fine Collins indicated she did not believe the referendum vote would the county to phase out the job tax. She considers it to be 'advisory only'.