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Policies

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Policy 1113
Emergency/Disaster Leave

Date of Current Revision: March 2011
Responsible Officer: Director, 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.

2. AUTHORITY

The Board of Visitors has the authority to enact all rules and regulations concerning the employment of individuals at the university. Where the board has not enacted rules, the authority is delegated to the president.

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 my 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 as described in Section 32.1-48.06, Code of Virginia.

Emergency Services:
The preparation for and carrying out of functions 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. See VA. Code § 44-146.16.

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 as described in Section 32.1-48.05, Code of Virginia.

Immediate Family Member:
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 threatof danger through exposure to biological, chemical or radiological hazards, as defined in VA. Code § 44-146.16. 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, as defined in Va. Code § 44-146.16. 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 (see VA Code § 44-146.17) 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 covered full-time employees of the university, including instructional faculty, administrative and professional faculty, and classified staff.

5. POLICY

5.1 Leave to Provide Emergency Services
A covered 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.
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 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.

5.2 Leave for Victims of Disaster
Leave may be available under this policy to a covered 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 the employee in recovering from the personal effects of a disaster such as travel, food or lodging.

Deans/AVP's 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 a formal declaration of a State of Emergency or of federal disaster status.
  • The employee's home 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 home temporarily or permanently uninhabitable.

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

Employees 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

Employees must request the use of Emergency/Disaster Leave through their immediate supervisor prior to using leave under this policy. The request must be submitted to and approved by the dean and/or appropriate AVP or the Executive Assistant to the President. The Dean/AVP and the Executive Assistant to the President possesses the discretion to approve requests for paid leave in the emergency or disaster situations described in this policy.

Employees asked by emergency/relief service authorities to extend their service beyond 80 hours for the same event may request approval from the university to use appropriate accrued leave or leave without pay. Approval is at the discretion of the dean/AVP and the Executive Assistant to the President.

Employees requesting the use of Emergency/Disaster Leave for purposes of Public Health Emergency Leave for themselves or an eligible family member may be required to submit confirmation of the diagnosis of a communicable disease of public threat that requires isolation, medical attention and/or removal from the workplace.

7. RESPONSIBILITIES

It is the responsibility of each dean/AVP and the Executive Assistant to the President to evaluate employee eligibility for leave under this policy. Emergency/Disaster Leave to provide emergency service shall be granted at the discretion of the requesting employee's dean/AVP. In evaluating such requests, deans/AVP 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.

Deans/AVP 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 the declaration of disaster by the President of the United States, Governor of Virginia, or 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

For leave for victims of disaster, this includes:

  • confirmation of the declaration of a State of Emergency or federal disaster status
  • documentation that the employee's primary 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

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 Manual of Policies and Procedures Policy 1319, Faculty Handbook section III.J.1.a.(5)., and DHRM Military Leave Policy 4.50

10. INTERPRETATION

The authority to interpret this policy rests with the president and is generally delegated to the Director of Human Resources.

Previous version: March 2009
Approved by the President: October, 2005

Index of Terms

Emergency leave
Disaster leave