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.

Courts have the discretion to excuse employees from their duties without loss of pay or charge to leave. Judiciary policy in the Guide advises that the absence should be limited to situations that comply with the Judiciary Code of Conduct, are not specifically prohibited by law, and satisfy one or more of the following criteria: (1) directly related to the court’s mission; (2) officially sponsored or sanctioned by the court; (3) will clearly enhance the professional development or skills of the employee in his or her current position; or (4) brief and is determined to be in the interest of the court. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of each court to balance support for employee volunteer activities with the need to ensure that work requirements are fulfilled and that court operations are conducted efficiently and effectively. Courts should also review any applicable local policies or guidance.