In the past weeks we have seen horrific scenes of rising waters and flooding in our and other neighboring states. Some of you have viewed these images from the comfort of your homes. Others have experienced these from your front porches, decks and even canoes. Government declared "states of emergencies" in some areas. We've also witnessed brave emergency response personnel called up to rescue stranded individuals from tops of flooded vehicles and houses.
North Carolina has a specific law that provides leave options for emergency response personnel. Employees who are members of a volunteer fire department, rescue squad, or an emergency medical services organization and are called into action after a state of emergency has been declared by the Governor or General Assembly have the right to take leave without pay from employment. In other words, any employees that fit into one of the stated emergency response organizations cannot be forced to use or exhaust their paid leave. The option on whether or not to take paid leave during this emergency service period is up to them.
The request for this leave, however, is required to be in writing from the Director of the Division or by the head of a local emergency management agency. It should be directed to the Chief of the employee's emergency response agency (volunteer fire department, rescue squad or emergency medical services agency) with a copy provided to the employee's employer. Remember, even if employers don't have a policy specifying such leave, "law trumps policy."
My thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been negatively impacted by this devastating flooding. North and South Carolinian's are a resilient people, even trying to keep a sense of humor through it all. My daughter and her family live down east in the small community of Cape Carteret. She sent me a picture of a sign appearing in front of the Sea Level Fire & Rescue that I thought you might enjoy.
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