Immediate Release

Thursday, August 2, 2007 

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Picente Expands Cancer Screening Leave, Provides Equal Benefits for All County Workers

To provide equal protection for all county workers regardless of gender, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente today announced that he is expanding the existing Oneida County cancer screening policy to provide leave of up to 8 hours per year for cancer screening.

In 2006, Oneida County acted to take advantage of a change in state Civil Service Law that created 4 hours of annual paid leave for breast cancer screening. At that time, County Government also provided 4 hours of leave for prostate cancer screening. This year, state law was amended to add 4 hours per year for prostate cancer screening. In response, Oneida County has adopted a policy that provides a total of 8 hours per year of paid leave for any form of cancer screening.

“The purpose of the policy is to ensure that our employees take advantage of the opportunity to be screened for cancer,” Picente said. “Early screening is extremely important in detecting cancer, treating it successfully and reducing the cost of care. It is critical that this policy be implemented to save lives and in the long run save taxpayer dollars. Oneida County has been very pro-active in our efforts to work with employees on this vital issue, and we want to continue that policy by providing our employees with the maximum possible amount of time we can for this important step that can protect their health.”

Picente said that it was important to provide the widest possible opportunity for employees to be screened for any form of cancer. “The goal of our workplace policies is to promote the best possible health of the workers who serve the people of Oneida County . That is part of our obligation as an employer and part of our need to ensure that the public receives the best possible service. We want to promote and encourage early detection for whatever form of cancer is the one that is of concern to an employee, and we want to do that in a workplace environment that provides equal opportunity for all employees.”

 “Cancer screening saves lives,” Picente said. “I strongly encourage all county employees to take advantage of this policy for the sake of their health, and for the sake of their families and loved ones.”