The president or designee, in accordance with the University Emergency Operations Plan, may declare a University State of Emergency due to unexpected events affecting University operations, public health, or the well-being and safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors, including but not limited to:
- inclement weather;
- a natural or human-caused disaster;
- the outbreak of pandemic illnesses; or
- any other unforeseen circumstances, including instances requiring suspension of services, reduction of operations, and/or closure of operations such as emergency closings.
The declaration of a State of Emergency could cover any, some, or all of the campuses of the University. This policy and associated procedures address the human resources implications of a declared State of Emergency, including the recovery period following a State of Emergency in which portions of this policy would remain in effect.
The University will use information provided by local, state, and federal agencies and subject matter experts in making decisions related to the preparation, response, and recovery from such events.
This policy is intended to provide direction when faced with unique emergency situations. The policy terms and provisions should not be viewed as a general reflection of the value placed on particular University functions or personnel. For example, the term "Essential employee" as used in the policy refers to employees whose duties must be performed on site, and must continue to be performed during a period of closure or reduced operations. It is not intended to discount or dismiss mission critical duties performed by other employees.
Supervisors are responsible for communicating to their employees their department, campus, college, or administrative unit Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) and the University Emergency Operations Plan.
In Anticipation of a University State of Emergency
- University Relations staff and other designated University officials will communicate broadly and repetitively throughout any emergency situation.
- Unless directed otherwise, individuals who are able to work are expected to report for work.
- University departments are encouraged to be as flexible as possible to enable all faculty, staff and students to work remotely, have flexible schedules, etc.
- Faculty, staff, and student workers may be assigned alternate duties to support the University in whatever capacity is needed.
- If it pertains to the State of Emergency, University Health and Safety is responsible for communicating guidelines and responding to questions related to the prevention and handling of exposure in the workplace. The guidelines will be developed with the advice of local, state, and federal authorities and subject matter experts, and will be updated as the situation evolves.
- Only employees and officials with the requisite training and responsibilities will be asked to perform work that could endanger their health and safety. Depending on availability of personnel, training for new employees may or may not be available.
- If directed, employees should not report to the workplace and should follow procedures outlined by their departments or unit for maintaining communication and direction about assignments.
During a Declared University State of Emergency
- Essential employees must report for work on site, unless they are specifically directed to work remotely.
- Back up and non-Essential employees must not report to campus. However, such employees must maintain regular contact with their supervisors as instructed, and will be expected to perform duties remotely to the extent possible.
- Pay and health care benefits for all employees will continue throughout a University State of Emergency in accordance with University policy, consistent with any directives issued by the University and pursuant to Appendix: Pay Provisions During Emergency Closings or Reduced Operations and for a duration determined by the University. Adjustments to compensation and to leave balances may be made following the University State of Emergency as required by circumstances. Health care benefits will not be discontinued during a University State of Emergency (for example, due to lack of paid status or an employee's inability to provide the employee portion of the cost).
- Supervisors are responsible for tracking the status of their employees throughout the State of Emergency in order to make the proper adjustments to leave balances, if necessary, after the University State of Emergency has ended and all employees return to work as usual.
Essential employees are expected to report to campus during a University State of Emergency unless specifically directed by their department not to report, or if directed by civil emergency or medical authorities not to report for health and safety reasons.
Departments/units are responsible for identifying Essential positions and individuals who may be in back-up positions to those designated as Essential, and notifying these individuals of their role. Central administration, through the senior administrator, may also designate certain positions as Essential. The senior administrator for a campus, college, or administrative unit has the authority and responsibility to determine which employees are designated as Essential for particular types of emergency, and will inform such employees in writing . Any position may be designated as Essential at any point during a University State of Emergency, even if not designated Essential or alternate for an Essential position prior to the University State of Emergency, depending on the type of emergency. Employees may be designated as Essential on a situational basis, (e.g., in the event of an emergency) or for a defined period of time.
Employees in positions designated as back-up for Essential positions whose designation changed to Essential during a University State of Emergency must report to work upon notification of this changed designation. Back-up employees must contact their departments for instructions during a University State of Emergency.
Non-Essential positions are those not designated as either Essential or back-up to Essential positions essential during a University State of Emergency. Employees in non-Essential positions will not report to campus during a University State of Emergency.
Employees in these positions may expect their department to attempt to contact them, and should attempt to contact their department during a University State of Emergency, according to the department's check-in procedures. For units with a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP), those details will be found there.
Departments that identify a need for ongoing work by non-Essential employees should offer alternative work arrangements, such as working from home or another work location. To the extent possible, such arrangements should be agreed upon in advance of any University State of Emergency. Refer to Appendix: Position Description and Responsibilities for further explanation including communication to employees with expectations.
Paid and Unpaid Leave during a University State of Emergency
During a University State of Emergency, and due to a possible inadequate number of payroll personnel, the University will continue to provide pay and benefits to all employees as if they were working their normal work schedules, pursuant to Appendix: Pay Provisions During Emergency Closings or Reduced Operations and for a duration determined by the University. This status will continue until there are adequate payroll personnel able to work, at which time adjustments will be made to reflect usage of various leave time (e.g. sick leave, vacation, leave without pay). In addition to regular leave times, the University will provide emergency paid leave to assist employees during a University State of Emergency. Actual amounts of such leave and the process for utilization will be declared upon assessment of the emergency, including an analysis of any fiscal constraints, and communicated to employees.
Departments are responsible for tracking hours worked and hours assigned to various leaves throughout the University State of Emergency. These will be utilized to adjust payroll records following the crisis. Employees will be required to report, as instructed, on their attendance status throughout the University State of Emergency.
Other Human Resource Issues during a University State of Emergency
Refer to Appendix: Other Human Resource Issues during a University State of Emergency for information regarding other human resource issues (working outside a classification and home campus/college/administrative unit, paychecks, grant-funded employees, labor represented staff, compensatory time off, probationary periods, recruitment and selection, timekeeping, and other).
Following a Declared University State of Emergency
The president will determine whether policy provisions that apply to employees prior to and during a University State of Emergency will remain in effect during the recovery period that follows and will communicate broadly those provisions to the University community in a timely manner.
While this policy provides direction for addressing emergency situations, the University also recognizes that such situations are often unpredictable, and that each situation is different. The University must be flexible in order to respond appropriately and effectively as situations develop. During any situation covered by this policy, the University is committed to providing open and timely communications regarding its decisions and response plan, including any amendments to this or other applicable administrative policies and procedures.
Reason for Policy
The University recognizes the need to prepare for the management of unexpected events affecting University operations, public health, or the well-being and safety of people on campus, including but not limited to inclement weather, a natural or human-caused disaster, the outbreak of pandemic illnesses, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances, including instances requiring suspension of services and/or closure of operations. The policy provides information to leaders, supervisors, and employees related to human resource practices in the event of a declared University State of Emergency. The ongoing delivery of routine compensation and benefits is a priority. The University will undertake measures to avoid the interruption of key benefits, such as health care coverage, for its employees during a period of emergency.