|Hazardous Weather/Emergency Leave FAQs|
Q: When the Governor makes a declaration of emergency and employees are not allowed to report to work, how do employees account for the absence from work?
A: Section 8-11-57 of the SC Code of Laws allows the Governor to provide State employees up to five days of leave with pay for absences from work due to a declared state of emergency for hazardous weather. If the Governor does not provide leave for the hazardous weather, the State Human Resources Regulations provides three options for employees to account for the lost work time. Employees are 1) allowed to use annual or compensatory leave, 2) allowed to take leave without pay, or 3) allowed to make up time lost from work.
Q: When an agency has employees who are nonexempt from FLSA and work 40.00 hour workweeks, how does the agency allow that employee to make up time lost during hazardous/emergency leave situations?
A: According to State HR Regulation 19-712.01 K., employers must allow employees the option to make up the lost time at a time that is agreeable to both parties. Since the employee already works a 40.00 hour workweek, any time worked over 40.00 hours would be considered overtime. Employers are responsible for paying time and a half or awarding compensatory time for all hours worked over 40.00 per week even when lost work time is being made up. Since the employee has already been paid straight time during the lost time, the employer would only be responsible for compensating the employee for the half time portion of the work time which is being made up.
Q: What are the agency's options during work hours if the Governor has not made a declaration of emergency but hazardous weather or other "unsafe" conditions arise that jeopardize the safety of employees?
A: The State HR Regulation Section 19.712.01 K. 1. provides an exception to allow the immediate evacuation of a facility by an individual in a supervisory capacity in the interest of personal safety. Typically, the agency head or a designee is responsible for making this decision.
Q: When the Governor has declared a state of emergency and provided paid leave for work time lost during the emergency, does this leave apply to employees who were already on approved leave during the time declared?
A: There are three options when deciding whether or not to allow employees to substitute the hazardous weather leave for other approved leave. Agencies can consistently and equitably: 1) allow all employees to withdraw their approved leave and substitute the hazardous weather leave; 2) allow no employees to substitute their hazardous weather leave for approved leave; or 3) consider substituting the hazardous weather leave for approved leave on a case by case basis.
Q: What happens when an employee shows up to work even though the Governor has declared an emergency condition?
A: The agency head should send the employee home unless the employee's personal safety would be jeopardized. If an employee ignores a directive to leave the work site, time worked must still be counted as work time, but the employee may be subject to discipline in accordance with the agency's progressive discipline policy. Time worked while the employee is on the premises must be counted as work time. An agency may decide to have a hazardous weather/emergency closing policy that communicates its approach to this issue and which applies consistently to all employees.
Q: Should the employee report to work when an employee lives in a county that has been declared closed due to emergency conditions but works in a county where no emergency has been declared?
A: Generally the employee should report to work unless reporting to work would jeopardize the employee's personal safety. If safety is jeopardized, the employee should contact a manager and request leave. Based on the wording in the Governor's executive order to close state offices, employees who are unable to report to work due to a hazardous weather emergency in the county where they live may be eligible for leave with pay.
Q: If the Governor declares an emergency, what portion of the time that the employee is scheduled to work is eligible for hazardous weather leave?
A: If the Governor declares a state of emergency and a portion of an employee's work schedule is covered under that declaration of emergency, then that portion of the employee's work schedule within the wording contained in the declaration is eligible for hazardous weather leave.
Q: Are temporary, temporary grant, and time limited project employees eligible to receive paid leave for scheduled work time not worked during a state of emergency?
A: Temporary employees are not eligible to receive paid leave for scheduled work time not worked during a state of emergency. It is at the discretion of the agency whether temporary grant and time limited project employees are eligible to receive paid leave for scheduled work time not worked during a state of emergency based on the authorization permitted under the grant or time limited project contract.