For the second time in as many years state employees will benefit from the association’s work that changed the hazardous weather policy in 2006.

“In 2006, OPEA asked Governor Henry to intervene on behalf of state employees during a snow storm similar to the one this week, said OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley. “OPEA asked Governor Henry to grant administrative leave to employees who were told to stay home during bad weather and who would be charged leave time for the closings. We believed it wasn’t fair to charge employee leave when they could not work. We also believed as strongly that employees 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 14, 2008, 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 rules also provide relief for those employees who must work in the affected areas.
“The relief OPEA sought and was granted by Governor Henry also provides employees who are required to work administrative leave accrual,” said 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 employees’ 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.

“Again, OPEA’s victory in 2006 provides a much needed benefit for state employees,” concluded Zearley. “If you are not a member of OPEA, this should be the tipping point for you to join with us.”

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