Emergency Preparedness and Workforce Coverage

Policy no. II-18
Effective date: 01/06/14
Scope: Faculty, staff, and student employees
Exclusions: none

 

Definitions:

"Emergencies" refers to that which imposes an immediate threat or risk to the health, life, property, or university environment.

“Essential employees” are those employees who perform critical and time-sensitive service in such areas as the Animal Resource Center, police, security, health services, and plant services. These areas provide services necessary for the ongoing safety, well-being and basic operations of the institution. In this context, “essential employees” refers to individuals whose work directly contributes to these duties required to continue fundamental activities without interruption. Use of the term “essential employees” with regard to emergency situations should not be construed to carry any broader implications with regard to the work of employees toward upholding the overall mission and core values of the university.

Essential employees must report to campus when the campus is officially closed, provided that: (a) local and/or regional government officials have not declared a travel ban or issued a prohibition on access to campus or portions of the campus, and (b) the employee’s supervisor or the university does not direct the employee otherwise.

Policy Statement

The university is committed to the safety and security of its students, staff, faculty, and property during emergency situations. Recognizing that emergencies, disasters, and catastrophic situations can occur, the university has established emergency procedures and response protocols for many types of emergencies including power outage, heating plant failure, severe weather, contagious disease outbreak, chemical spill, major fire, etc. The university has issued an Emergency Management Plan and Emergency Procedures Manual that should be followed in case of any emergency. Coordination of the emergency operating plan is the responsibility of Campus Services. Under the plan, executive leadership (the emergency management team) will establish the direction as to how the emergency will be managed.

Each management center and/or department will formulate a business continuity plan for their area to implement during an emergency. The plan will include a list of emergency services to be provided by the management center and of essential staff during an emergency. Supervisors will communicate this plan to employees, and make clear to them who among their direct reports are considered essential personnel.

The university rarely closes; however, if officials decide to close the campus before the usual start of the workday, the university will provide specific information for employees via the RAVE alert system, local television, radio, and print media, as appropriate, in addition to posting on the university’s homepage, and, when possible, via departments or supervisors.  Employees may be advised not to report to work for a specified period of time.  Supervisors will determine which, if any, employees may work from home, or if it is necessary to implement alternative work schedules or locations.  If the decision to close or evacuate is made after the start of the workday, each department will be notified by a member of the emergency operating team or the university’s email system, website, and the RAVE system. The RAVE system automatically enrolls employees, although individuals may choose to opt out of the notifications.

It should be assumed that the university is open, and employees should not be released with pay, unless an announcement by the university is released to the contrary.  Announcement examples are below:

  1. Early Departure
  2. Due to the forecast for inclement weather this afternoon, all employees working a normal daytime shift (other than essential employees who previously have been notified that they are deemed “essential” in such emergency situations) are authorized to leave their offices at ___PM today. Customary working hours for second and third shift personnel will remain in effect.  All schedules regarding evening classes and special events will remain in effect.  Any subsequent closures this evening will be announced via a separate announcement. This announcement does not constitute a general closure of the university operations. All employees working the daytime shift sent home early will be paid at their regular rate of pay for the remainder of their workday. Please note that “essential employees” are those who provide critical support services in areas such as the Animal Resource Center, police, security, health services, and plant services. These employees are required to report to campus when the campus is officially closed, provided local and/or regional officials have not issued a travel ban or issued a prohibition on access to campus or portions of the campus and provided the employee’s supervisor does not direct the employee otherwise. The term “essential” used in this policy refers to maintaining or restoring basic operations of the campus.

  3. Late Arrival
  4. Due to the inclement weather this morning, all employees working a normal daytime shift today (other than essential employees who previously  have been notified that they are deemed “essential” in such emergency situations) are advised that they need not arrive at the university until ____AM today. Classes and events scheduled prior to that time are cancelled. Otherwise all university operations after ____AM will remain in effect including scheduled classes and events until further notice. Employees will be paid at their regular rate of pay from the start of their work day until their late arrival time. “Essential employees” are those employees who provide critical support services in areas such as the Animal Resource Center, police, security, health services, and plant services. These employees are required to report to campus when the campus is officially closed, provided local and/or regional government employees have not declared a travel ban or issued a prohibition on access to campus or portions of the campus and provided the employee’s supervisor does not direct the employee otherwise. The term “essential” used in this policy refers to maintaining or restoring basic operations of the campus

  5. University-Wide Closure
  6. Due to the inclement weather, the University will be closed for the day. All classes and events are cancelled for today only. This includes evening classes and events. Only essential personnel need to report to work. “Essential employees” are those who provide critical support services in areas such as the Animal Resource Center, police, security, health services, and plant services. These employees are required to report to campus when the campus is officially closed, provided local and/or regional government employees have not declared a travel ban or issued a prohibition on access to campus or portions of the campus and provided the employee’s supervisor does not direct the employee otherwise. The term “essential” used in this policy refers to maintaining or restoring basic operations of the campus.



Supervisors may decide to grant the request of a non-essential employee to be released early. If the request is granted, these employees can choose to be released without pay or have the time be charged to vacation.

Certain essential services are required to be maintained in any emergency.  The employees involved in these essential services are excused from work only with the specific authorization of their supervisor, regardless of television, radio, or other announcements regarding University closures.  The supervisor will notify staff who are considered essential employees in emergencies, define their work obligations, and establish notification procedures when they will be needed to work. Essential non-exempt staff who work during a university closing will be paid time and one-half for a university-wide closure, but not for late arrival or early closure. Essential exempt staff who work a significant amount of additional time during a closure may receive compensation in the form of time off, at a later date, if approved by the supervisor.

Failure to report to work during emergencies by essential employees required for essential services without specific authorization will be cause for corrective action up to and including termination.

See University Closings for Holidays and Other Events Policy and Procedures (II-13 and II-13a) for pay practices.

Policy Administration: All supervisors in coordination with the Department of Emergency Management, Department of Environmental Health & Safety, and Police and Security Services.

Reference: Case Policies and Guidelines for Chemical, Biological, and Radiation Safety (5-15-91)
Emergency Procedures Manual
Safety and Security Policy (I-6)
Handling Safety & Security Situations Procedure (I-6a)
University Closings for Holidays and Other Events (II-13,13a)
Deterrents to Workplace Violence Policy (V-6)
EAP Program Literature