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Policy 1113
Emergency/Disaster Leave

Date of Current Revision: April 2017
Primary Responsible Officer: Director of Human Resources

1. PURPOSE

This policy provides a method to grant up to 80 hours of paid leave annually to qualifying employees who are called away from their regular jobs to provide specific kinds of emergency services during defined times of state and/or national disaster, or who need to attend to the medical needs of self and/or immediate family members when communicable disease of public health threat conditions have been declared by the State Health Commissioner and the governor. This policy also provides a method to grant up to 80 hours of paid leave annually to employees who are victims of disasters that meet the criteria specified in this policy.

This policy adheres to Virginia Department of Human Resource Management Policy 4.17-Emergency Disaster Leave.

2. AUTHORITY

The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia § 23.1-1600; § 23.1-1301.  The Board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.

STATE OR FEDERAL STATUTE AND/OR REGULATION

Stafford Act (P.L. 93-288 as amended), VA Code § 32.1-48.05, § 32.1-48.06, § 44-146.16, § 44-146.17

3. DEFINITIONS

Affected Area
Any part or the whole of the Commonwealth, which has been identified as where persons reside, or may be located, who are known to have been exposed to or infected with or who are reasonably suspected to have been exposed to or infected with a communicable disease of public health threat.

Communicable Disease of Public Health Threat
An illness of public health significance, as determined by the State Health Commissioner in accordance with regulations of the Board of Health, caused by a specific or suspected infectious agent that may be reasonably expected or is known to be readily transmitted directly or indirectly from one individual to another and has been found to create a risk of death, significant injury or impairment.

Emergency Services
The preparation for and carrying out of functions, other than functions for which military forces are primarily responsible, to prevent, minimize and repair injury and damage resulting from natural or man-made disasters. These include fire-fighting services, police services, medical and health services, rescue, engineering, warn­ing services, communications, radiological, chemical and other special weapons defense, evacuation of persons from stricken areas, emergency welfare services, emergency transportation, emergency resource management, existing or properly assigned functions of plant protection, temporary restoration of public utility services, and other functions related to civilian protection.

Exceptional Circumstances 
When one or more persons within the Commonwealth are known or are reasonably expected to have been exposed to or infected with a communicable disease of public health threat.

Immediate Family Members 
Immediate family includes parents, step-parents or persons who stood in place of the parent and performed parental duties and responsibilities; a spouse as defined by laws of the Commonwealth; children, including step-children, foster children, and legal wards; and, siblings, including step-siblings, residing within an affected area.

Major Disaster 
An official status declared by the President of the United States when he/she deems that federal assistance is needed under the Stafford Act (P.L. 93-288 as amended) to supplement state, local and other resources to deal with the effects of a variety of natural or man-made catastrophic events.

Man-made Disaster
An event caused by the action of one or more persons that imperils life and property and produces danger or the imminent threat of danger through exposure to biological, chemical or radiological hazards. Examples include large spills resulting from transportation or industrial accidents, and effects of terrorist acts. Some man-made disasters may also be called technological disasters.

Natural Disaster 
An event of nature that causes extensive and/or severe threat to or destruction of life and/or property. Typically, such situations are the result of wind, earth­quake, blizzard, ice storm, widespread fire or flood.

Primary Personal Residence 
The home, apartment or dwelling in which the employee resides most of the time. This does not include vacation or second homes, nor property owned but not occupied by the employee. Normally, this location will bear the employee’s official address as recorded by the city or county where the dwelling is located.

Specialized Skills or Training
Specific, definable skills or training that enables an individual to provide certain identified services needed during periods of state or national emergency or disaster. These skills and training may or may not be related to the qualifications used in the employee’s state job.

State of Emergency
The status declared by the President of the United States, the Governor of Virginia or the governor of another state for conditions of sufficient severity and magnitude that assistance is needed to supplement the efforts of localities and other relief organizations.

4. APPLICABILITY

This policy applies to all full-time employees of the university, to include instructional faculty, administrative & professional faculty, and classified staff.

5. POLICY

5.1 Leave to Provide Emergency Services
An employee shall continue to receive his/her normal salary for up to 80 hours while using approved emergency/disaster leave under this policy. JMU will not pay for expenses related to provid­ing emergency service, such as travel, food or lodging.

Vice presidents (VPs), deans, associate/assistant vice presidents (AVPs), and the executive assistant to the president have discretion for authorizing up to 80 hours of leave annually under this policy for employees who meet all criteria shown below:

  • The area is covered by an official declaration of major disaster by the President of the United States or a declaration of a State of Emergency by the Governor of Virginia or the governor of another state.
  • Public officials at the site of the disaster have requested the assistance of individuals with specialized skills or training.
  • The employee possesses the required specialized skills or training requested by the authorities.
  • The employee presents a written request to provide emergency services and obtains approval prior to using leave under this policy.

5.2 Leave for Victims of Disaster
Leave may be available under this policy to an employee who has sustained severe or catastrophic damage to or loss of his/her primary personal residence or has been ordered to evacuate that residence as a result of a natural or man-made emergency or disaster. JMU will not pay for expenses incurred by an employee in recovering from the personal effects of a disaster such as travel, food or lodging.

VPs, deans, AVPs and the executive assistant to the president have discretion for authorizing up to 80 hours of leave annually under this policy for employees who meet all criteria shown below:

  • The event resulted in an official declaration of major disaster by the President of the United States or a declaration of a State of Emergency by the Governor of Virginia or the governor of another state.
  • The employee’s primary personal residence was located in the officially declared disaster area.
  • Formal documentation from recognized disaster relief organi­zations or insurance companies verifies severe, extreme or catastrophic damage to or loss of personal property as a result of the declared emergency in which the damage or required evacuation rendered the employee’s primary personal residence temporarily or permanently uninhabitable.
  • The employee presents a written request to use leave for recovery purposes and obtains approval prior to using leave under this policy.

5.3 Public Health Emergency Leave
Upon declaration and within the period of a communicable disease of public health threat, an employee is eligible for up to 80 hours of paid leave per leave year to attend to his/her own medical condition and/or to care for immediate family members residing in an affected area.

An employee whose illness and/or isolation extends beyond 80 hours must use existing leave and/or disability policies to cover the remainder of their absence.

6. PROCEDURES

An employee must request the use of Emergency/Disaster Leave through his/her immediate supervisor prior to using leave under this policy. The request must be submitted in writing to and approved by the appropriate VP, dean, AVP, or the executive assistant to the president. VPs, AVPs, deans, and the executive assistant to the president possess the discretion to approve requests for paid leave in the emergency or disaster situations described in this policy.

An employee asked by emergency/relief service authorities to extend his/her service beyond 80 hours for the same event may request the use of appropriate leave or leave without pay. The request must be submitted in writing to his/her immediate supervisor and approved by the VP, dean, AVP or the executive assistant to the president. Approval is at the discretion of the VP, dean, AVP and the executive assistant to the president.

An employee requesting the use of Emergency/Disaster Leave for a communicable disease of public health threat for himself/herself or an eligible family member is required to submit confirmation of the diagnosis that requires isolation, medical attention and/or removal from the workplace to his/her supervisor.

7. RESPONSIBILITIES

It is the responsibility of each VP, dean, AVP and the executive assistant to the president to evaluate employee eligibility for leave under this policy. Emergency/Disaster Leave shall be granted, in writing, at the discretion of the requesting employee’s VP, dean, AVP, or executive assistant to the president. In evaluating such requests, VPs, deans, AVPs and the executive assistant to the president should consider the need for the employee to provide the specified assistance and the expected impact of the employee’s absence on JMU’s ability to fulfill its mission.

VPs, deans, AVPs and the executive assistant to the president are responsible for ensuring that they have the required documentation prior to awarding paid leave.

For leave to provide emergency services, this includes:

  • confirmation of an official declaration of major disaster by the President of the United States or a declaration of a State of Emergency by the Governor of Virginia or the governor of another state;  
  • verification of the request for assistance by the appropriate officials;
  • corroboration that the employee possesses the relevant specialized skills or training; and
  • employee’s written request to provide emergency services.

For leave for victims of disaster, this includes:

  • confirmation of an official declaration of major disaster by the President of the United States or a declaration of a State of Emergency by the Governor of Virginia or the governor of another state;
  • documentation that the employee’s primary personal residence is in the official disaster area;
  • verification as cited above of catastrophic damage to or loss of the residence, or requirement to evacuate the residence; and
  • employee’s written request to use leave under this policy.

8. SANCTIONS

Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment.

9. EXCLUSIONS

Employees activated under military orders, whether by state or federal authorities, are not covered by this policy. See Policy 1319-Classified Employee Leave Without Pay, Faculty Handbook section III.J.1.e- Military Duty Leave and DHRM Policy 4.50-Military Leave.

10. INTERPRETATION

The authority to interpret this policy rests with the president and is generally delegated to the director of human resources.

Previous version: April 2014
Approved by the President: October 2005