State Employees Can Take Paid Leave to Volunteer in a Disaster
Texas allows state employees to take paid administrative leave to volunteer with the Red Cross during a disaster.
For many years the state of Texas has allowed for State employees to take paid administrative leave to volunteer with the Red Cross during a disaster. Can’t believe it? It’s true! In fact, It’s written into Texas statute (Tex. Gov’t Code § 661.907). Granted, the code has been expanded over the years, but here’s the upshot: State employees who are certified by the American Red Cross as Disaster Service Volunteer, may take up to 10 days paid administrative leave per year when three conditions are met: (1) at the request of the Red Cross, (2) the employee’s supervisor authorizes it, and (3) the governor approves it. Further, there can only be up to 350 state employees on this paid administrative leave at any one time.
So what does this mean? This means that there is an incentive for state employees to get involved with their community to help themselves and their communities become disaster ready. In my opinion, those who volunteer during disaster response are more likely to be ready when one comes their way. Granted, they aren’t going to be 110% ready, but the mindset will have at least set in once that this could likely happen to them.
The next question becomes: why don’t major corporations do this? The fact is that they likely do to some degree. The question will always boil down to “who is going to pay the workman’s comp if the volunteer gets hurt while on this paid administrative leave?” The Texas Labor Code does allow for Disaster Volunteers to be covered by state workman’s compensation plans if strict time line and conditional requirements are met. Really, it’s going to boil down to what the volunteer’s and the corporation’s insurance carriers think about it.
So next time you’re at the DMV and get really mad at the person behind the counter, realize that they may actually be the same person that comes to help you after disaster strikes.