My Iona

Essential Employees: Staff

Section: Safety, Health & Environmental Services
Responsible Office(s): Human Resources
Effective Date: November 12, 2017
Revised: Not Applicable


This policy applies to employees designated as Essential.


Iona University is a community that requires continuous operation 24 hours per day. Activities and services related to facilities support, housing, mail and dining services as well as health and safety, must continue as necessary on a seven-day schedule.

There are scheduled (i.e. holidays) or unscheduled situations (i.e. weather emergencies) that necessitate the suspension of normal operations. However, some important services may still be required to continue even in severe weather or during other emergency circumstances that require the University to close.

Essential employees are those who are required to report to work during an emergency, weather-related or otherwise, to ensure the operation of essential functions of the University community. Essential employees are designated by Department Heads based on the nature of the emergency. When foreseeable, the Department Head will plan appropriately so exposure to unsafe travel conditions can be minimized. Employees are asked to use their best judgment in determining how to best get to and from work, and are required to adhere to government mandates, such as states of emergency and other such restrictions.

Essential employees are requested to report per the schedule issued by their department and remain at work regardless of whether the University is not operating normally, closed, on a delayed opening or early dismissal schedule. This includes but may not be limited to, Safety and Security officers, employees in Facilities Services and employees in mail services. At the Department Head’s discretion, previously approved leave, vacation, etc., for the essential employees may be canceled when an emergency is imminent or declared. If the employee has to cancel, shorten or return from vacation, and incurs expenses doing so, the University will reimburse the employee for the travel expenses for the employee’s return from their vacation as well as the cost for their vacation prorated for the number of days lost upon submission of invoices. These expenses will be charged to the respective department’s budget. The employee’s failure to return to work upon written or verbal notice that the leave has been canceled, may result in corrective action.

Departments will notify employees if they are designated as an “Essential Employee” at their time of hire. Current employees will be notified, in writing, of their status as an “Essential Employee.” Essential employees must report as scheduled by their Supervisor. Non-exempt, essential employees will receive a pay differential in the amount of two times the regular hourly rate for time worked while the University is closed. Time worked after the University re-opens will not be eligible for the pay differential.

Essential employees who must report to work during a delayed opening or closure will be ineligible for paid vacation or personal time should they fail to arrive as scheduled, unless in the University’s judgment extraordinary circumstances warrant the absence. Sick leave will only be paid upon receipt of a physician’s note documenting an injury or illness that prevented the employee from reporting to work as scheduled.