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Revision date of this archived policy: September 2, 2009

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Revision date:
September 2, 2009

To ensure continuity of services to students and the public, it is the policy of the university to remain open. However, during unusual or extreme conditions, normal operations of the University (except the University Hospitals) may be temporarily suspended or altered by declaration of the President of the University, or designee. This may occur in the event of unusual conditions, such as severe weather, public health emergencies, major utility failure, fuel shortages, or other reasons. This policy provides information related to human resource practices in the event of a University emergency.

“Essential Employee” means one who has been designated as critical to the operation of a unit, whose presence is required regardless of the existence of an emergency condition, and whose absence from duty could endanger the safety and well-being of the campus population and/or physical plant.  Employees may be designated as essential on a situational basis, e.g., in the event of a weather emergency only, or in the event of a public health crisis.  Essential employees should be notified in writing on an annual basis.  Designations may be changed at any time depending on need. 
Essential employees are expected to report for work during a University emergency unless specifically directed by their department not to report, or if directed by civil, emergency or medical authorities not to report for health and safety reasons.


  1. When normal operations are suspended or altered, regular staff employees with a full-time equivalent (FTE) of 0.5 or greater, who are not required to work, will be paid for their normally scheduled work hours. Employees on vacations, temporary disability or special leave(s) will not be entitled to the provisions of this policy.
  2. Essential employees required to work during a period when normal operations are suspended or altered shall:
    1. Receive time off with pay on another scheduled work day within a specified period of six weeks, or
    2. Receive pay for the period when normal operations are suspended.
      Note:  Departments with special scheduling and staffing problems may extend the six week period with the approval of the department head and the Human Resources Office of Employee Relations.
      ​Note:  This paid leave does not count as hours worked for purposes of computing eligibility for overtime.
  3. Essential employees who are required to work during a period of emergency, but who do not report to work as scheduled, shall be subject to corrective action up to and including termination of employment.
  4. Temporary employees who work during an emergency shall be paid the normal wage rate for each hour worked.
  5. Operations of the University Hospitals (Chandler and Good Samaritan) are essential and remain functional at all times. All employees of the Hospital are essential and are to report to work as scheduled.
    1. Any emergency shall have no effect on the University Hospital schedule.
    2. Employees of the University Hospital who do not report to work as scheduled shall be subject to corrective action up to and including termination of employment.


  1. The Provost, Executive Vice Presidents, Deans and Directors shall designate essential functions within their areas of responsibility. These areas will remain operational during emergencies. Essential functions may vary depending on the type of emergency. Essential employees shall be notified in writing upon hire. It is also recommended they be notified in writing on an annual basis.  Designations may be changed at any time depending on the needs of the University.
  2. Announcement of a University emergency will normally be made through the local broadcast media, UK TV Cable Channel 16, UK Infoline, 859-257-5684, or the UK website at
  3. If an area is designated to remain open, responsibility for advance preparation, appropriate implementation, scheduling and announcing emergency operations staff for essential functions is delegated to the department heads.
  4. Authorized absences during an emergency are reported for payroll purposes as working time.