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Essential Personnel

Policy Number: HR-18
Effective Date: September 2009
Last Revision: March 2013
Responsible Officer: Senior Vice President of Student Life & Administrative Services

PURPOSE

This policy provides guidelines for the identification and use of Essential Personnel during campus emergencies. During a Suspension of Operations, Essential Personnel provide services that relate directly to the health, safety, and welfare of the University, ensure continuity of key operations, and maintain and protect Drexel University property.

 

APPLICABILITY

This policy applies to all eligible non-faculty Professional Staff Members, excluding any Professional Staff Member who is affiliated with a collective bargaining unit.

 

IMPLEMENTATION

Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the Department of Human Resources.

 

ADMINISTRATIVE OVERSIGHT

The Senior Vice President of Student Life and Administrative Services is the Drexel University official responsible for the administration of this policy.

 

POLICY

In the event of extraordinary situations, the University may suspend normal operations and classes in whole or part.  In such instances, all Professional Staff Members designated as Essential Personnel must fulfill their duties set forth in this policy in order to (1) ensure the continuation of critical University operations; (2) attend to the needs of students and other members of the University community; and (3) protect the University’s assets.

 

DEFINITIONS

Department Head is defined as the highest ranking administrator in a department, center or college/school within the University (e.g., Senior Vice President, Dean, Director, or department chair).

Essential Personnel is defined as Professional Staff Members designated by Department Heads and/or the Drexel Emergency Response Team to be critical to the continuation of key operations and services in the event of a Suspension of Operations.

Essential Services is defined as those services that are determined to be critical to the functioning of the University.  In the event of a Suspension of Operations, the SVP of SLAS in consultation with senior management will determine which services are essential based on the nature of the event.

Exempt Professional Staff Member is defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as a Professional Staff Member holding a bona fide executive, administrative or professional position that is not subject to the overtime provisions of the Act.  Exempt Professional Staff Members are considered salaried and cannot be docked for anything less than a full day’s work.

Immediate Family Member is defined as any person who is related to a Professional Staff Member in any of the following ways: spouse, domestic partner, parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister or other relations established by law or court order.

Non-exempt Professional Staff Member is defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as a Professional Staff Member holding a position that is subject to the provisions of the Act.

Operational Status is defined as the categorization of the situation giving rise to the Suspension of Operations in terms of the degree of severity, which in turn may affect the activation and work requirements of Essential Personnel.  The categories are defined in the University’s Emergency Preparedness Plan [PDF].

Professional Staff Member is defined as an individual employed in any non-faculty category by Drexel University, including an individual who is deemed to be either exempt or non-exempt under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or applicable state law.

Suspension of Operations is defined as the decision of the Senior Vice President, Student Life and Administrative Services (SVP of SLAS) or his or her designee to suspend University operations in whole or in part and may include University closure and/or Class Cancellation.

 

PROCEDURES

  1. Identification of Essential Personnel
    1. Department Heads are responsible for identifying the Professional Staff Members to be designated as Essential Personnel for their respective organizations.  This determination is made on the basis of the essential duties of the jobs and the needs of the University.  The particular Essential Personnel who are activated during a Suspension of Operations will vary depending upon the circumstances and the nature and severity of the event.
    2. Department Heads must create and maintain an up-to-date list of Essential Personnel and provide the list upon request by Drexel senior management and/or the Drexel Emergency Response Team. Department Heads are responsible for notifying the Professional Staff Members who have been identified as Essential Personnel, in writing, that they have received this designation, using the “Essential Personnel Designation Form [PDF].” The written notice must describe the duties and responsibilities the Professional Staff Member may have during Suspension of Operations.  The respective Department Head must also review this policy with their designees.
  2. Suspension of Operations and Operational Status
    1. Decisions regarding Suspension of Operations and Operational Status will be made by the SVP of SLAS or his or her designee in consultation with other University leadership as appropriate, necessary and feasible.
    2. Once it has been determined that Suspension of Operations is the appropriate course of action and has categorized the Operational Status, the Office of University Communications will then notify all those affected by the Suspension of Operations via one or more of the following communications outlets:
      1. Drexel Alert, the campus emergency alert system
      2. Email
      3. Voice mail
      4. Drexel.edu, the University’s homepage
  3. Staffing Determinations During Suspension of Operations
    1. The Vice President of Public Safety (SAVP), or his or her designee, will evaluate the University’s need to activate Essential Personnel, and for any additional personnel that may be required in light of the nature and severity of the Suspension of Operations.  The VP’s determination of these staffing needs will be communicated promptly to the appropriate Department Heads, who will designate any additional Professional Staff Members as necessary.  Department Heads will promptly notify the identified Essential Personnel of the need to report for duty.  Notification will include:
      1. the anticipated duration of the Suspension of Operations; and
      2. the expected work schedules for all Essential Personnel.
  4. Reporting for Duty during Suspension of Operations
    1. Essential Personnel will be notified by the University announcements and by their respective Department Heads of their activation, and they must report to work as soon as feasible.  Essential Personnel must remain on duty as instructed in order to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of Essential Services, unless directed or permitted to do otherwise by their respective department administrator.
    2. It is strongly recommended that, throughout the duration of a Suspension of Operations, Essential Personnel retain a copy of this policy (HR-18) and the written notification of their activation, in order to establish their identity to authorities.  Specific identification credentials will be provided to Essential Personnel on site, which must be worn for the duration the Suspension of Operations.
  5. Excuse from required Duty During Suspension of Operations
    Depending on the nature and Suspension of Operations, and at the discretion of the Department Head, Essential Personnel may be excused from service for the following reasons:
    1. If the Professional Staff Member has a medical condition.
    2. The Professional Staff Member has a personal circumstance that prohibits him or her from reporting to duty or necessitates departure from the workplace during the course of the Suspension of Operations (e.g., a child or elder care issue).
    3. Local or regional government authorities have determined that travel at the time of activation between the Professional Staff Member’s location and the assigned work area creates a risk of harm to the Professional Staff Member or others, or is prohibited.  In such instances, the Professional Staff Member who is unable to travel must notify his or her Department Head of this circumstance no later than one hour before the scheduled work start time.
  6. Unexcused Failure to Report to Work During Suspension of Operations
    Professional Staff Members who are required to work during a Suspension of Operations but refuse to do so for reasons other than those deemed acceptable in this policy may be subject to Drexel’s Performance Improvement Process, up to and including termination of employment.
  7. Attendance and Compensation during Suspension of Operations
    1. The following attendance and compensation policies shall be in effect for Professional Staff Members required to report to, or remain at, work during the Suspension of Operations:
      1. All Professional Staff Members who are required to report to or remain at work (i.e., Professional Staff Members whose work units are not closed, or those called into work by their Department Head) shall work as scheduled.
      2. A Professional Staff Member who is required to work during Suspension of Operations but is unable to do so as scheduled, for whatever reason, must contact her or his immediate supervisor to report the absence at least one hour in advance of the Professional Staff Member's scheduled work starting time.
      3. Non-exempt Professional Staff Members who are required to report to work or remain at work during the Suspension of Operations of their respective work unit will be paid their normal hourly rate plus 1.5 times for all hours worked during Suspension of Operations. 
      4. Exempt Professional Staff Members who report to or remain at work as required during the Suspension of Operations of their respective work unit will be paid their regular salary and will receive additional Floating Holiday 1.5 times the number of hours worked during Suspension of Operations.   Floating Holiday hours must be used before the end of the fiscal year in which they were earned.
      5. Designated Essential Personnel who do not report to work during Suspension of Operations must apply accrued leave, as appropriate, for such time away from work; unless exempted by their respective Department Head. 
    2. The following compensation policies shall be in effect for Professional Staff Members whose respective work units are subject to Suspension of Operations and who are not designated as Essential Personnel or otherwise required to work:
      1. Exempt and Non-exempt Professional Staff Members will receive their regular rates of pay, even though Suspension of Operations prevents them from working.
      2. The time for which Non-exempt Professional Staff Members are paid but did not work will not be used to determine overtime compensation.
      3. Professional Staff Members who are not deemed essential, but nevertheless report to work, will receive regular pay for all time worked.
      4. Professional Staff Members who have scheduled vacation, sick leave or other time off prior to the Suspension of Operations may not rescind such time off request after the announcement of the Suspension of Operations.
      5. In the event that a Suspension of Operations occurs for a portion of the day, a Non-exempt Professional Staff Member in an affected work unit may be allowed to leave work earlier than the scheduled closing time, provided the following:
        1. The Professional Staff Member’s supervisor has approved the request; and
        2. Vacation or sick leave, as appropriate, or leave without pay, will apply to the hours of absence beyond the scheduled work time.

 

AT-WILL EMPLOYMENT NOT AFFECTED

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary stated in this policy, nothing herein is intended to alter the at-will status of any Professional Staff Member.  Drexel University at all times retains the right to terminate any Professional Staff Member at any time for any lawful reason, or for no reason at all.