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Leave Options in Response to Hurricane Florence

As the safety of state employees is our utmost concern, the Office of State Human Resources has provided preliminary guidance to agency Human Resource Offices regarding staff affected by the impacts of Hurricane Florence. Temporary expansion of leave policies have been authorized to assist state employees who live or work in counties with mandatory or voluntary evacuations, or who reside in areas that remain dangerous due to flooding, debris or power outages.

Effective Sept. 19, the following options may be applied to help state employees address their short-term needs while also ensuring the continued operations of state government. OSHR will continue to explore additional ways to help state employees deal with the aftermath of the hurricane.

Note that these options are subject to change as floodwaters recede and emergency officials say that roadways in affected areas are safe for travel. State employees with questions about how these options may apply to them should contact their agency’s HR Office.

See FAQs at the bottom of this page.

  • Emergency Closings Policy: If an employee’s work location is closed and he or she is unable to work from a designated alternate location or from home, those circumstances are addressed by the Emergency Closings Policy. As a reminder, OSHR last week authorized a temporary expansion of the Emergency Closings Policy if employees live or work in a mandatory or voluntary evacuation area, if there is a unique and documentable safety reason to close state offices, or if affected employees live an evacuated area and they are unable to get to their workplace or a designated alternate location safely.
  • Adverse Weather Policy: If there are issues getting safely to or from work, those situations are covered by the Adverse Weather Policy. We will extend the Adverse Weather Policy makeup provisions an additional 90 days to allow employees up to 180 days (March 2019) to make up work time missed due to the hurricane.
  • OMAL for Difficult Living Situation: If an employee’s living situation is still evolving due to ongoing safety risks, major damage to his or her primary residence, or other serious hurricane-related impacts, the employee may be eligible for Other Management-Approved Leave (OMAL). As a short-term step, through Friday, Sept.21, up to 40 hours of OMAL will be made available to the employee. The employee will be responsible for providing documentation of their hardship to their supervisor.
    • Agencies will ensure that the application of this benefit is applied in a fair and consistent basis. This applies to employees in counties included in the federal Disaster Declaration as well as counties which the state has requested be included. Visit the state’s Hurricane Florence 2018 website, then scroll down to find the current Disaster Declarations map, which highlights declared and requested counties. Note that the map is not meant to be the exclusive resource for making your decisions, but rather it is offered as a baseline from which you may choose to grant exceptions.
  • OMAL for Loss of or Substantial Damage to Primary Residence: Beginning Monday, Sept. 24 and based on available agency funds, agencies may pay up to 80 hours of OMAL to employees who need time off to address loss of or substantial damage to their primary residence sustained between Sept. 14-24. This will be available to affected employees in the first 60 calendar days after damage occurs. It will be up to the agency to determine how to document this, but best practices would include meetings with contractors, job estimates or receipts for purchased supplies.
  • Community Service Leave: In the spirit of “neighbor helping neighbor” that Governor Cooper has referenced so many times since Hurricane Florence devastated North Carolina, a temporary expansion has been applied to the Community Service Leave (CSL) Policy to allow state employees to use up to 40 hours of CSL for any Florence-related volunteer activity. This expansion includes both the 24 hours of CSL provided annually to promote volunteerism and community involvement among state employees and the additional 16 hours awarded to specifically apply to Florence-related volunteer activities. It applies retroactively to Sept. 14, the day Florence made landfall near Wilmington. Employees should obtain prior approval from their supervisor and be responsible for providing documentation that additional hours used are storm-related, according to individual Agency HR office guidelines. All CSL leave currently available to state employees will expire on Dec. 31, 2018, then be refreshed on Jan. 1, 2019, with the usual 24 hours of annual CSL leave.
  • Storm-Related Overtime Pay for FSLA Exempt Employees: Per policy, agencies may provide overtime pay for storm-related activities to FSLA exempt employees. Per the Hours of Work and Overtime Compensation policy (see: section 4, page 74), such pay is subject to available agency funds and prior approval from OSBM.

 

As a reminder, state employees with questions about how these options may apply to them should contact their agency’s HR Office.