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Essential Employees

Type of Policy: UFHR – ER
Effective Date:
Last Revised: January 1, 2019


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance for supervisors identifying essential employees and clarity of expectations for those employees who have been identified as being essential to insure integrity and continued function of university facilities and equipment; as well as maintaining the safety and wellbeing of student, faculty and staff remaining on site during these events.


This policy applies to University of Florida employees identified by their chain of supervision as being essential employees.

Policy Statement

Essential employees provide vital support to the University of Florida in the event of an emergency or disaster, resulting in the official suspension of classes and/or closing of offices. When the University officially closes or suspends classes, essential employees may be required to report to work, or be available in on-call status, if directed to do so by a supervisor or official from their department during an emergency or disaster to ensure continuous operations. Each college or department is responsible for the final determination as to which of its positions are essential.


Considerations for Determining Which Employees are Essential

Considerations by colleges and departments should include:

  • Continuation of critical and essential services;
  • Maintaining integrity of infrastructure, property or systems;
  • Staffing or functions needed at any point during a period when offices are closed;
  • Method of communication to employees deemed essential personnel prior to, and during an event requiring the service of the employee executing the functions of an essential position; and/or
  • Response or assessment immediately following an emergency event.

Essential employees also have a responsibility to monitor official University of Florida communications related to an emergency, including UFAlert and UFL.edu, as well as maintain up to date contact information in myUFL.

The Vice President of Human Resources, or designee, has discretion to make adjustments to this policy as necessary during emergency situations.

Designation of Essential Employees

Colleges and Departments are responsible for identifying essential positions and notifying the individuals in those roles when they may be required to report to work (despite a University closure). Essential employees should receive and acknowledge written designation of their essential employee status from their college or department. The written designation remains in effect until the essential employee designation is rescinded in writing. Essential personnel will be expected to maintain their normal work schedule, or adjusted schedules required due to unexpected closings, unless or until otherwise notified.

Essential Employee – Emergency Closing Assignment and Compensation

It is incumbent upon the supervisor to inform and confirm which essential personnel are required to work during emergency closings. Notification and confirmation of the expectation of essential personnel to report to work, or maintain on-call status, will be executed with as much advanced notice as possible via in-person communication or email.

If non-exempt employees are required to work during an emergency closing, in addition to their normal pay, they will earn one hour of compensatory leave for each hour worked during the emergency closing. For example, if a non-exempt employee works during an emergency closing for eight (8) hours, the employee will earn eight (8) hours of regular pay (unless they are in overtime status for the workweek), plus they will be granted eight (8) hours of compensatory leave.

If the compensatory leave is not used by the employee within six (6) months following its accrual, the employee will be paid for the leave.

Exempt staff employees are eligible for compensatory leave at the discretion of the supervisor. If a supervisor elects to provide compensatory leave, the same rules that apply to non-exempt employees will apply to exempt employees.

Faculty and graduate assistants are not eligible for compensatory leave under this policy.

Any employees that are part of a collective bargaining unit should consult the Collective Bargaining Agreement regarding any specific information regarding this policy and its application.

Reporting Questions or Violations

The following is the department, office, or individual is responsible for overseeing implementation of and assuring compliance with this policy. Any individual with questions about the policy:

UFHR – Employee Relations
903 W. University Avenue
P.O. Box 115000
Gainesville, FL 32611
Phone: (352) 392-1072
Email: EmployeeRelations@hr.ufl.edu (to expedite a response, please include the phrase “Essential Employees” in the subject line of any email inquiries or reports)


Failure to comply with this policy could result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.


Essential Employee Tracking Spreadsheet

Essential Employee Designation Letter

Related Information

Policy History

Revision Date Author Description
01-01-2019 UFHR – Employee Relations General policy update and adoption of UF HR policy template