Disaster Service Worker
What's on this page
You are a disaster worker
County and Agency employees are designated under California Government Code Section 3100 (below) as “Disaster Service Workers.” This means any County or Agency employee may be required to return to work for a disaster assignment. Please be aware that the performance of essential government functions, including disaster service work, are exempt from the current Shelter in Place Order.
We would like to remind you of what you might expect over the next few days/weeks/months during this federally declared emergency and ask that you prepare yourself and your family in the event you are called upon to work at a different work location or beyond your regularly scheduled shift.
What is a disaster service worker?
It is hereby declared that the protection of the health and safety and preservation of the lives and property of the people of the state from the effects of natural, man-made, or war caused emergencies which result in conditions of disaster or in extreme peril to life, property, and resources is of paramount state importance requiring the responsible efforts of public and private agencies and individual citizens. In furtherance of the exercise of the police power of the state in protection of its citizens and resources, all public employees are hereby declared to be disaster service workers subject to such disaster service activities as may be assigned to them by their superiors or by law.
Specific to the current COVID-19 event
The performance of essential government functions, including disaster service work, are exempt from the current Shelter in Place Order. The County is committed to ensure your continued safety and health while you provide these services to the public. The Human Resources Occupational Safety and Health Team is working with the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) and Departments to address safety concerns and ensure necessary personal protective equipment is being supplied.
All new hires are notified of their disaster service worker status and asked to sign an acknowledgment during the new hire sign-up process. A copy is stored in the personnel file. The absence of this document, however, does not relieve the employee of their disaster service worker responsibilities under the law. Additionally, the responsibility of each County or Agency employee to serve as a disaster service worker is covered during the New Employee Orientation that all employees are to attend at the initiation of their employment. Information regarding your status as disaster service worker is located on your employee ID badge.
What is my responsibility as a disaster service worker?
- When the County officially declares an emergency, you should first ensure you and your family are safe.
- Follow your department’s reporting instructions.
- Be prepared to be assigned to a disaster service assignment.
- Understand assignments may require your disaster service work to be at locations, times and conditions other than your normal work assignment.
All County and Agency employees may be utilized for disaster service worker assignments. Departments and County Human Resources prioritize contacting employees who meet the criteria for given assignments first.
What kind of duties might I be asked to perform as a disaster service worker?
In most cases, your department, EOC, or County Human Resources will provide you with a general assignment based on the needs during the declared emergency. Examples of general job category duties you may be asked to perform include: answering telephones, ordering/delivering food or supplies, managing volunteers, staffing a hotline, developing information or communications, food handling, maintenance tasks, running messages, tracking information in the EOC, helping in a warehouse, shelter or food bank, language interpretation, or other tasks as needed.
How will I know what to do?
When you are assigned a shift you will be given a point of contact for your assignment. When you start your shift (either in person or remotely), you need check in with your point of contact. They will orient you and provide any necessary training, supplies, or equipment, including personal protective equipment if applicable.
Are there any acceptable reasons an employee can decline the disaster service worker assignment?
There may be reasons that prevent an employee from performing disaster service worker, or reporting for specific types of disaster service worker shifts. If you currently, or at any time in the future, feel you are unable to perform disaster service work, you need to notify your supervisor/department management immediately. Your supervisor/department management will let you know if your specific situation is acceptable to release you from either some or all types of disaster service work and inform County Human Resources as to your availability/lack of availability.
If you are contacted for a disaster service worker assignment by either your department, EOC, or County Human Resources, the expectation is that you will accept and report for the shift. If you refuse or state you are unavailable for a disaster service worker shift without having already spoken with your supervisor/department management as to the reason why you are unavailable for work, disciplinary action may be taken.
Employees currently on an approved leave of absence (excluding DPNW) are not expected to perform disaster service work.
Will I get paid for the hours I work as a disaster service worker?
Disaster service work is considered regular work. You will be paid in accordance with the applicable MOU or Salary Resolution, and at your regular rate for hours worked. Any overtime or other special pay would apply per your applicable MOU or Salary Resolution.
Will I get paid for the travel time to and from the assignment?
Reimbursement for mileage and travel time would apply per the applicable MOU or Salary Resolution and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Typically, this will be for travel time and mileage that exceed your travel time to your regularly assigned reporting location. You can check with your payroll clerk for specific details.
Should you have further questions about your roles and responsibilities as a disaster service worker please contact your supervisor / Department management and they will ensure your questions are addressed by the most appropriate individuals.