Storm meant paid time off for some

By Vicki Hyatt | Feb 16, 2014

Snow that blanketed the county last week prompted local government entities to send many employees home early and close non-emergency offices the following day.

For most county and school employees, that using available leave time to have a full paycheck.

Municipal employees who weren’t needed to handle weather-related issues had things a bit better. Because the town managers made the decision to close the office based on weather conditions, the time at home was paid time off.

Public works and emergency personnel employed by the towns received time and a half if their work week exceeded 40 hours.

At the Haywood County school system, there is no pay for hours not worked, said Bill Nolte, associate superintendent. Employees who can’t make it into work must take leave time or make up hours. For instance, some office employees came in over the weekend to catch up on work, Nolte said.

The county adverse weather policy gives employees the option of taking comp time, personal time or vacation time if they can’t get to work.

Jason Burrell, interim town manager in Canton, Marcy Onieal, Waynesville town manager, Nathan Clark, Maggie Valley town manager and Joy Garland, Clyde town manager, all made the decisions to close municipal offices because of the storm. That meant employees in positions considered nonessential for storm response stayed home, but didn't have to use any accumulated leave to still get paid.

On the other hand, had the managers decided to keep the municipal offices open, and employees didn’t show up, they would have been required to take annual leave.

“Because so many of our employees provide essential services, we rarely call for closing,” said Onieal, “and simply encourage all our employees to do what they need to do to be safe (in such case, time taken is their own vacation time).  In this case, I closed administrative offices on Thursday, which affected about 20 employees.”
Of that number, about half were salaried.

Garland said  Clyde Town Hall closed at 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday and remained closed as well on Thursday. 
Those employees, only two of them, will be paid for the time off due to inclement weather.  Those who worked overtime will be compensated at time and half,” she said.

“During periods of weather such as Wednesday and Thursday, non-essential personnel are typically sent home,” Burrell said. “Essential personnel are those individuals needed to scrape roads, fix water line breaks, etc. If able and the situation allows, we try to have a crew working while another goes home (swapping crews out to provide a continuous workforce, etc and avoid working them to exhaustion).”

Maggie Valley Town Hall closed at 10 a.m. Wednesday, was closed all day Thursday and opened at 10 a.m. Friday," Clark said.

Public works and police department employees that worked are eligible for overtime pay if they exceed the standard workweek threshold, unless they prefer comp time.


"The decision to close town hall was based on several factors, including employee safety," Clark said. " Our public works staff worked a 12-hour shift (5 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Thursday clearing snow and ice from the streets/roads. They began work early again on Friday to ensure the safest possible morning commute for our residents."


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