Updated: on February 17 at 7:40 p.m.
Policy for state employees who don't work during hazardous weather states that workers have to use vacation time for work missed.One state department has varied from that policy and is granting administrative leave to employees unable to work during the recent blizzard.
Workers in other departments said all state departments should play by the same rules.
The new Department of Social Services policy is a result of the Feb. 1 blizzard. Roads were covered in snow and many state workers were unable to get to work. For employees who were told to leave or stay home, the Department of Social Services is offering adminstrative leave with pay. The state's hazardous weather policy was in effect that day, meaning workers had the choice to stay home as long as they used vacation time, went without pay, or made up the hours. I think it should be fair across the state. If you are going to give administrative leave to some agencies, then all agencies need to have it. an Anonymous Employment Security Worker said.
T he anonymous state worker said that he and many other employees should be given this same consideration since they too were told to go home.
Right about 2 p.m. they came over the intercom and said we're going to shut down the building, everybody needs to be out by 2:30 p.m," the worker said. "Our policy clearly states if you elect not to go to work, report late, or leave early then you have to use your leave or compt time. A lot of people did not elect to leave. They were told they had to leave or not to report to work."
That worker's department is sticking to the hazardous weather policy.
But a memo from the Department of Social Services said employees there will get paid time off for the same situation.
The Office of Administration was unaware of the difference in policy on Thursday afternoon.Where they're issues that might be problematic, we'll look into that, Office of Administration Commissioner Kelvin Simmons said.
The Office of Administration was also unaware that some workers were told to go home.
The Office of Administration made sure all buildings were open unless you could not get to those facilities we put that on our website, Simmons said.
Human Resources at DSS defended their policy and said it was fair because they told workers to stay home.
Most state workers found themselves making the hard decision between working and takign vacation time during the blizzard.
But, a memo sent to Department of Social Services employees indicates to the employees that they will be eligible for administrative leave with pay for time-off during the storm.Most departments are operating under the statewide Hazardous Travel Policy for state employees, which states workers must take annual leave time, or make up the hours missed during severe weather, if they choose not to work.
This is the memo sent out to DSS employees:February 10, 2011
MEMORANDUM FOR ALL DSS EMPLOYEES
FROM: Karen Meyer, Human Resource Director
SUBJECT: Leave for Last Week TMs Weather Situation
As a result of the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the winter storm last week, administrative leave with pay will be granted to employees in the following situations:
An employee reported to work but could not enter the building because it was not open and the employee had no key/means to open it.
If you fall into one of these categories, please work through your supervisor to correct your leave, if applicable. If you are uncertain as to whether you fall into one of these categories, please feel free to contact my office for guidance.
KRCG contacted the State Office of Administration, a commissioner said that the office was not aware of DSS' decision to grant time-off with pay.
Karen Meyer with the Department of Social Services told KRCG the department decided on the policy because some employees were told not to come to work or told to go home.
Here is the wording of the regular Hazardous Weather Policy:
Hazardous Weather Policy
Pursuant to Office of Administration Policy B-15:
As a reminder Policy B-15 states in part:"A. Absences when the Hazardous Travel Policy has been implemented.
Employees who are delayed or prevented from reporting to work due to inclement weather or who wish to leave work early due to worsening weather or road conditions may account for the absence by one of the following methods with the approval of their supervisors:
Last week, employees for the Department of Mental Health who were kept overnight at facilities were honored at the department's commissioners' meeting. They were still informed, however, that they would not be receiving pay for all time spent in the building, only the time they worked.Do you think departments should get the administrative leave with pay for the time they missed? Head to the comment section.