Passing judgment

So, an employer isn't ethically obligated to continue paying an employee's salary if the employee is unable to work due to illness and has previously chosen not to (or been financially unable to) participate in the optional company health insurance plan. While this may sound very harsh, the alternative answer, which Randy toys with, would lead to a dangerous moral hazard. That is, no employee would ever have reason to purchase insurance, knowing that their employers would provide for them either way.
I do think there is a societal obligation to move towards single-payer health care, but there's no conflict between that and individual employers not being obligated to care for their employees. I of course hope that this employer does everything he can for his employee, as the fact that any serious illness is capable of ruining someone's life even if they recover from it is horrifying, and should be alleviated via government policies. I believe that to be the case even if such government policies, such as the Family Medical Leave Act which mandates that employers provide (unpaid) leave when employees are ill without negative consequences to the employees career, lead to higher unemployment. This doesn't seem to have much to do with the ethicist column though.
On the second question...Over an hour? Pittsburgh must be quite different from New York or St. Louis, the only cities I've lived in. Because I can't imagine waiting an hour. It sounds more like a Curb Your Enthusiasm skit then something that really happened. The real question is the appropriate punishment for making someone wait an hour.