Declared Emergency Compensation FAQs

Because of the nature of our county’s important work, it is likely that some county employees will be called upon to serve the community during a declared emergency or disaster situation. Employees are entitled to be compensated for that time.

The following information addresses some of the most frequently asked questions regarding how employees will be compensated during a declared emergency or disaster situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find complete information about how pay and leave will be handled for classified service employees when regular county operations are completely or partially closed due to an emergency?

What is the guiding philosophy behind how classified employees are compensated during emergencies?

Our citizens depend on employees to serve them during emergencies. All county employees will have a role in addressing the situation before, during and after an emergency. In other words, responding to emergency situations is part of our job as public servants of Pinellas County.

However, not everyone is needed during the preparation or early phase of an emergency. For the people whose roles are not essential during that early phase, it is safest for them to be away from work and preparing themselves and their families for the impending emergency. Because those individuals are directed not to report during their regularly scheduled work time, they are granted leave with pay.

Those who are needed early on are expected to report to work and will be compensated for doing so.

The Personnel Rule refers to regular county operations being fully opened, partially opened or suspended. What is the difference, and doesn't the county have 24/7 operations that always remain open?

Pinellas County has 24/7 operations that remain open at all times. Even some county offices that are not generally considered 24/7 operations may remain open when “regular” county operations are closed. If the Board of County Commissioners declares a state of emergency or if the Appointing Authorities close county operations due to an emergency or disaster situation, then the county is considered closed, and the provisions of the Rule pertaining to those conditions apply.

How are classified employees compensated when they must work during the period of time regular operations are closed?

Such employees receive pay at the overtime rate of 1.5 hours for each hour worked.

What if I worked outside of my regularly scheduled hours?

You would still receive pay at the overtime rate for all hours worked during the period of emergency operations when regular operations are closed. There is no additional pay for hours worked outside your normally scheduled hours, unless you work an after-hours shift for more than four consecutive calendar weeks.

At what point do I start earning the overtime rate for working during the emergency?

The rate is effective during the time the county’s regular operations are officially closed. For example, if the county closed for a full day, Wednesday, hours worked between midnight Wednesday morning to midnight Wednesday evening would be paid at the overtime rate.

What about employees who are sent home when the county’s regular operations are closed. Do they get paid?

Yes. They receive leave with pay (LWP) for the number of hours they were normally scheduled to work that day. So an eight-hour-per-day employee would receive eight hours LWP, while a 10-hour-per-day employee would receive 10 hours LWP. The county is trying to keep these employees out of harm’s way and out of the way of emergency operations until they are needed.

What if a classified employee works for a part of the day that county operations are officially closed for less than eight hours? What happens then?

The county would pay the overtime rate for employee’s hours worked and leave with pay for the remainder of hours in the employee’s normal tour of duty. For example, an eight-hour-per-day employee working three hours on a day “regular” operations are closed would receive three hours overtime pay and 5 hours LWP.

What if I was scheduled for a day of annual leave or approved to take a floating holiday on the day regular operations are closed? Will I still be charged leave for that day?

No. You will be credited with leave with pay for your normally scheduled hours for that day.

I was not scheduled to work on the day operations were closed. Will I get leave with pay?

No. Leave with pay is only granted to employees scheduled to work for that day who have been instructed not to report. If you were not scheduled to work, that day will be reflected as it normally is—a non-work day.

How do classified employees get compensated if the county is partially open?

Employees working under these circumstances are paid at their regular rates for hours worked up to and including 40. All time worked beyond the 40-hour workweek (or 80 hours for classified/ excluded employees) will be compensated at the overtime rates of pay either in cash or compensatory time at the discretion of the Appointing Authority or designee.

What about those who volunteer for or are asked to work in the County Information Center (CIC)? How do they get paid?

As noted in Personnel Rule 3, D.5, employees working in the CIC receive their regular pay in situations where their CIC shift falls during their normally scheduled work time and county operations are continuing as usual. If the assigned CIC hours fall outside the normally scheduled work time, then the CIC employee will be compensated at the overtime rate, regardless of the actual number of hours worked in the week.

Some of this sounds different from what I’ve heard before. Have these guidelines and practices changed over the years?

Yes. We have learned from trial and error and spent time looking at other organizations as models. We have refined our procedures to address as many situations and variables as possible. Even when these variables conflict, we strive to achieve the best balance for everyone involved.

My supervisor sent me home to prepare my home and family for an emergency, and then I returned to work. Do I get paid for that time?

If you are directed to leave work for that purpose, you must immediately return to work once you have completed your preparations. In this case, you will receive administrative leave with pay for your time away. However, if you were allowed to go home in order to rest for an upcoming adjusted tour of duty, then you will not be compensated for that time. For example, if you were asked to report to work from 2-11 p.m. on a day when you might normally work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., then you would get paid for working eight hours (at overtime rate if applicable for the emergency), but you would not receive leave with pay for the time you were not at work.

I worked extra hours for a couple of days before and during the emergency. For example, I worked 10 hours on Tuesday and 12 hours on Wednesday. Will I get paid overtime for that?

Not necessarily. If it meets the emergency criteria (the Board of County Commissioners declares a state of emergency or an Appointing Authority closes county operations due to an emergency or disaster situation), then you will be paid at the overtime rate. However, if the county was open or partially open, then you would not be eligible for overtime until your hours worked for the week exceeded 40. This is considered part of your regular duties. In this situation, management has the right to direct you to adjust your work schedule for the remainder of the week so that you do not exceed 40 hours or to reduce your number of overtime hours.

Will I receive overtime pay or compensatory time?

The decision on whether or not to pay overtime or compensatory time is usually at management’s discretion. They must balance operational needs with the amount of funds available. This is always the case in nonemergency situations. In situations where there is a declared emergency, the county may be eligible for reimbursement for overtime paid from the Federal Emergency Management Administration. Therefore, all overtime worked is to be paid. There is no discretion.

What if the declared emergency falls on a holiday?

Classified service employees required to work during an emergency (when county operations are closed) on a recognized county holiday will be paid for such time in accordance with Personnel Rule 4, Section A.3.a.

I was on official business traveling outside of the area when the county was declared closed for an emergency. I attended training on that day. Will I get paid overtime or receive additional leave with pay?

You will get paid at your regular rate for hours worked that day. It will be treated as a normal day for you, and there will not be an additional day off with pay.

What about travel time during the emergency? Do I get paid for that?

Travel time during emergencies is treated the same as in normal situations. If you are traveling to and from work, you are not compensated for that time. However, if you are on standby assignment or emergency callout, the provisions of Personnel Rule 3, Sections D1 and D2 would apply.

Will I get reimbursed for mileage for coming to work during the emergency?

Mileage is treated the same in an emergency as in normal situations. There is no mileage reimbursement for going to and from work. You are eligible for mileage reimbursement if you drive your personal vehicle during work time to perform official work functions during the emergency.

How do I keep up with information on my status for reporting back to work during an emergency?

If you are unable to contact your supervisor or director, call the Employee Hotline at 727-453-EMER (453-3637) for updated information. Do not call the County Information Center to find out about your work status. These lines need to remain open to address citizens’ concerns.