Emergency Status Line
1-800-445-5830Berkeley Lab Pandemic Flu Information Site
Human Resources/Benefits FAQs
During an Immediate Emergency
Lab management will communicate the operational status of the Lab and will let you know if Lab operations may continue or must be discontinued. All laboratory operating questions regarding returning to work and etc. will be communicated via Today at Berkeley Lab, on the Lab web site and the Lab’s Emergency Status Announcement number – 1-800-445-5830 and lab status website. Information regarding safety issues and Lab operations will be the first priority and answers to other questions will be answered as the emergency subsides.
Priorities during an emergency
Employees who need counseling or support can contact UC CARE Services, the Lab’s Employee Assistance Program, for support at 510-643-7754.
Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued valuable guidance to help employers and employees understand their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) during a pandemic flu outbreak. The guidelines answer important questions that might arise, such as:
- Does the ADA allow employers to require employees to stay home if they have symptoms of the pandemic influenza virus?
- When employees return to work, does the ADA allow employers to require doctors' notes certifying their fitness for duty?
- How much information may an employer request from an employee who calls in sick in order to protect the rest of its workforce when a pandemic appears imminent?
For the full text of the guidelines, go here.
During a Prolonged Emergency
Q. Can my supervisor make temporary changes to my job assignments so that my group can continue our primary (essential) functions during an emergency?
A. Yes. Both the Regulations and Procedures Manual (RPM) and all of the collective bargaining agreements recognize the Laboratory’s management right to reassign employees to tasks appropriate for their classification and skill level.
Q. Can my assigned shift and/or assigned work schedule be changed to continue our primary (essential) functions during an emergency?
A. Yes. Both the Regulations and Procedures Manual (RPM) and all of the collective bargaining agreements recognize the Laboratory’s management right to temporarily adjust employees’ work schedules to meet operational demands during the emergency. Note: This adjustment may be made on a case-by-case basis depending upon operational considerations.
Q. If I am required to stay home, do I get paid?
A. Nonexempt employees will not be paid but may use their accrued sick leave. For exempt employees, the answer is the same as non-exempt employees – except if the exempt employee has worked any portion of a four (4) hour work period and has exhausted all their accrued sick and vacation leaves. In this instance, we pay the exempt employee for the rest of the four (4) hour work period. For more guidance, please contact your supervisor.
Q. Will I be allowed to telecommute?
A. If your work can be done off-site, you will be allowed to temporarily telecommute during the emergency with your supervisor’s consent. Please refer to RPM 2.06 Compensation, Scheduling, and Work Location policy on telecommuting and contact your division’s HR Center.
Q. Can I be required to report to work during an emergency?
A. If Laboratory Management determines that it is safe for you to return to work, you should return to work. If you are unable to return to work, you will be placed on leave status and your supervisor will follow the appropriate leave policy and procedure. For more information, contact your division’s HR Center.
Q. If the Lab Director closes the Lab during an emergency, how will employee pay be handled?
A. Laboratory Management will determine if employees will or will not be paid during an emergency. If they will not be paid employees may use accrued leave or take leave without pay.
For more information:
- For eligible employees, information regarding your health plan benefits can be found at the UCOP HR and Benefits - At Your Service web site (http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/index.html)
- If you have questions regarding your health plan benefits, you can contact the Lab's Benefits Department at x6403 or http://www.lbl.gov/Workplace/HumanResources/html/Benefits/contacts.html
- Keeping Employees Working During an Emergency