Wednesday, September 28, 2022

City approves paid time for employees during inclement weather events almost a year after Florence

City Council approved changes to the city's policy regarding paid time off if the city closes due to natural disasters (Port City Daily photo / File)
City Council approved changes to the city’s policy regarding paid time off if the city closes due to natural disasters (Port City Daily photo / File)

WILMINGTON — The City of Wilmington has officially revised its policy regarding compensation for employees during inclement weather events. It is a major change in a policy that has been in place for decades, one which required employees to use vacation days if they missed work — even if they were evacuated for their own safety.

The Wilmington City Council unanimously approved the changes during a July council meeting as part of the consent agenda.

But it’s not the first time the city has talked about revising the policy; following Hurricane Florence there was talk of changing the policy — at least temporarily to help employees who had missed days of work from the storm.

Related: Wilmington reconsiders policy forcing employees to use leave days for natural disasters

The previous policy read, “Should any employee, non-exempt or exempt, determine that, for their personal safety, it is not feasible for them to report to work during a period of inclement weather or other similar emergencies, they will be required to charge their absence to vacation or banked holiday time.”

Now, employees will at least get some relief from having to use their personal days if the city is closed. The new policy does not give employees unlimited paid days off if the city closes, but they will be compensated for the first two days of closure.

The major changes to the policy include:

  • Pay for employees not required to work during a period of city closure:
    • Employees will be paid their regular scheduled hours for the day when the City opens late or closes early due to a weather or emergency event.
    • All employees will be paid for the first two (2) full consecutive days of a city closure. If the city is closed longer than two (2) consecutive working days, all non-exempt (hourly) benefits-eligible employees (those working in excess of 1,000 hours/year) will be required to use accrued leave for all additional time the City remains closed.
    • For significant events or prolonged closures, the City Manager has the discretion to authorize additional paid days beyond what is allowed in policy.
  • Pay considerations for emergency and essential personnel:
    • Emergency and essential personnel will be paid their regular rate of pay for all hours worked and are subject to overtime compensation per FLSA guidelines.
    • For significant events or prolonged closures, the City Manager has the discretion to pay essential and emergency personnel additional compensation. For non-exempt that would be one and one-half time for all hours worked. For exempt, that would be bonus leave time equal to half of all hours worked.

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