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Determining Essential Employees

by White,Tim last modified Oct 09, 2012 09:58 AM

Instructions for Determining Essential Employee


During an emergency or disaster, the University may have the need to adjust or suspend operations. In the past this typically has been in response to weather events, but other events like extensive absenteeism due to H1N1 flu, acts of terrorism or other catastrophic emergencies could also trigger this type of response. In these cases, the public, students, faculty and most staff may not be allowed on any campus until the situation has been contained. Even though the University is closed or operations altered, there are some business and facility operations that must continue. The individuals needed to meet these business and operational needs are essential employees.


You and your supervisor should discuss what operations should continue during an emergency for short periods of one to two days and extended periods of over a week. You should also discuss whether these activities can be performed from your home in the event the University is closed. In this case you may be essential, but not need to be designated as an essential employee since you do not need campus access.


If you must come to a UofL campus to perform your essential work, you must be designated as an essential employee.  This determination is made by your supervisor by using the guide for determining if a UofL employee is essential. Once the determination has been made, the supervisor must complete the online form located here. The department chair or director must concur with the supervisor that your role is essential. Once the form is completed, the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (DEHS) will make a final determination on whether the job duties of the individual are essential. If a department does not agree with the DEHS determination, the matter will be referred to the University Emergency Planning Committee for review.


Once you are designated as an essential employee and a major emergency does occur, please make sure you can safely reach the campus prior to leaving your residence. Your safety is more important than any University operation. The University has taken measures to ensure that essential staff has access to any University property during and immediately after an emergency by issuing “Emergency Response Personnel” identification cards to those designated as essential employees. You should keep this card with you or in your vehicle.


If a campus has closed due to an emergency, and a perimeter has been set up with security to prevent unauthorized access, please show your emergency identification card to the police officer or security officer for access. If they refuse to allow you on campus, please find a telephone and let your supervisor know that you tried and were refused access. If you are in University buildings during a period where they have been closed, please provide your identification card to security or police officer for identification.


Once you have gained access, please report to your work station or go to where you were told to report when you were called and asked to return to work.


Compensation for essential employees is outlined in the Human Resources FAQs covering HR issues for 2009 H1N1. “Regardless of the work location, classified staff required to work during a period of announced university closing in order to perform essential or specialized services shall be paid at a regular, straight-time rate for the hours worked up to 40 hours in a workweek and shall, in addition, be credited with straight-time compensatory leave credits or paid at straight-time for an equal amount of time.  The supervisor will be responsible for the decision regarding additional compensation or compensatory time off.  Professional staff is paid at their regular rate of pay.”


Should you have any questions, please contact your supervisor or call Dennis Sullivan at 852-2948.

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