In the first test of the new rules concerning hazardous weather, OPEA believes that many state employees will once again benefit from the association’s efforts last year.
“OPEA asked Governor Henry to intervene on behalf of state employees at nearly this exact time last year to grant administrative leave to employees who were told to stay home during bad weather,” said OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley. “We simply felt that it wasn’t fair to charge employee leave time when they could not work. We also felt as strongly thatemployees who have to work to maintain minimum services should also receive compensation. Governor Henry agreed with us and issued an executive order changing this ruling to be more employee friendly.”
Merit Rule 530:10-15-71 requires state agency appointing authorities to place employees on paid administrative leave when state offices are temporarily closed due to hazardous weather conditions.
The Office of Personnel Management has also provided additional instructions concerning the rule. In an All Appointing Authority memo dated November 27, 2007, OPM provided addition instructions:
*The authority to grant administrative leave shall exist only in the specific locations and during the specific time periods for which the appropriate authority has determined that a temporary closure or reduced services are necessary.
The new rules also provide relief for those employees who must work in the affected areas. “The relief OPEA fought for last year and granted by Governor Henry also grant employees who are required to work administrative leave accrual,” said OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley. “Employees who must work in the affected areas to maintain the basic minimum services will be allowed to accrue administrative leave on a straight-time basis for all hours they work during the reduction.”
Accrual of administrative leave is limited to the hours of their regularly scheduled work periods and is capped at a maximum of 8 hours per day. Employees also do not receive administrative leave for any overtime.
“It looks like the most employees affected by this ruling will be in the seven county region in the Oklahoma City metro area,” said Zearley. “Many of these employees working in the Capitol complex have been out of work due to the lack of electricity.”
For more information regarding the explanation of these rules and to see a copy of the OPM memo, click here.
“This is simply another great reason to have a conversation with your co-worker about joining OPEA,” Zearley said.