Emergency/Disaster Preparedness

How do we verify the identity of potential new hires who lost all their identification documents as a result of a disaster?

There is no provision to hire anyone within the Federal service absent proof of personal identification. However, during previous disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has historically provided services to expedite assistance in obtaining personal identification. In the past, Document Centers have been established at each FEMA designated shelter. Check the FEMA website for postings of Document Centers and other updates.

Who should the court contact if an employee has died during a disaster or emergency situation?

The court should advise their local Human Resources representative, and the appropriate team lead on the Staffing Services Branch and Benefits and Retirement Counseling Services Branch in the Office of Human Resources as soon as possible to ensure that any necessary personnel processing, and benefits counseling and claims may be accomplished expeditiously. The Judges Compensation and Retirement Services Office should be contacted in the case of a deceased judge.

Are employees who are members of the National Guard or Reserves who are called up to assist in disaster relief and recovery efforts on administrative leave?

No. These employees are entitled to use military leave under 5 U.S.C. 6323(b) (i.e., 22 workdays of military leave); however, the employee may also use annual leave, earned compensatory time, leave without pay, or any combination thereof.

Can employees of other courts volunteer to assist in the areas affected by a major disaster or emergency ?

Even if they are not requested to do so by a federal agency or disaster relief organization, employees seeking to participate in volunteer activities during basic working hours may be granted annual leave, leave without pay, compensatory time off (if applicable), or, in very limited and unique circumstances, excused absence, as discussed below.

May an employee be given excused absence for activities in connection with disaster relief and recovery efforts?

If requested by a federal agency or disaster relief organization, at the discretion of the employing court, an employee may be excused from duty without loss of pay to assist with disaster relief and recovery, if requested by a federal agency or disaster relief organization to assist in emergency law enforcement, relief, or clean-up efforts in affected communities authorized by federal, state, or other officials having jurisdiction, and if an employee’s participation in such activities has been approved by his or her employing court.

Can employees who are sent from other courts to assist a court affected by a disaster or emergency be placed on admin leave?

Employees sent from other courts to assist affected courts in restoring court services are considered to be on official duty, and administrative leave would not be necessary.

If a court activates their emergency preparedness plan with alternative worksites, may an employee refuse to go?

Any such designated employees are expected to report for work at the alternative worksite, unless otherwise directed by their court. A court may determine that circumstances justify excusing a designated employee from duty and allowing the employee to use leave because of an individual hardship or unique circumstances. Employees who refuse to follow emergency related orders may be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including removal.

I have been evacuated and I am unable to report to work, but my court isn't closed. What should I do?

You should contact your court to report your status. You may be granted annual leave, leave without pay, or use of earned compensatory time. Alternatively, the court has the discretion to grant administrative leave (excused absence); however, there is no entitlement to administrative leave. See Excused Absence questions for additional information.

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