Policy Number: 11-014

Essential Employees

Category: Human Resources

Responsible Executive: Vice President for Human Resources

Responsible Office: Human Resources

1. Policy Statement

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to supervisors in identifying essential employees in order to maintain facilities, equipment, and a continuity of business operations in the event of emergency work interruptions.

Essential employees are those individuals who must report to work, be “on call” to report to work, and/or work remotely if required in order to maintain the critical functions of the University. Essential employees play an important role in maintaining the safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff who may be remaining on site throughout emergency events. 

2. Applicability

This policy applies to University of Florida employees identified by their chain of supervision as being essential employees. 

3. Definitions


4. Policy Specifics

Essential employees provide vital support to the University of Florida in the event of an emergency or disaster. Essential employees may be required to report to work, be “on call” to report to work, and/or be available to work remotely. All employees are eligible to designated as essential.  Volunteers cannot be designated as essential under this policy.

During a campus closing, only employees designated as On-Campus Essential may be present on campus.  During a modification of on-campus activities, only employees designated as On-Campus Essential may be present on campus and Remote Essential may be periodically present on campus with supervisor approval.

Each college or department is responsible for the final determination as to which of its positions are essential.

Considerations for determining which employees are essential.  Considerations by colleges and departments should include:

On-Campus Essential – Working on campus

  • Continuation of critical and/or essential services that must be completed on-site
  • Maintaining integrity of infrastructure, property or systems on-site
  • Necessary on-campus work to maintain the safety and wellbeing of students, faculty and staff

Remote Essential – Working from a remote location, may need periodic access to campus

  • Work is required to maintain operations and business continuity of the University and can be completed remotely
  • Supervisor approved access to campus may be needed periodically to complete required work

Remote Non-essential – Working from a remote location, does not need access to campus

  • Work is important to the University and can be completed remotely, but is not essential to maintain operations and business continuity

The Vice President of Human Resources, or designee, has discretion to make adjustments to this policy as necessary during emergency situations. 

Designation of Essential Employees

Colleges and Departments are responsible for identifying essential positions and notifying the individuals in those roles when they may be required to report to work (despite a disruption to the University operations). Essential employees should receive and acknowledge written designation of their essential employee status from their college or department. The written designation remains in effect until the essential employee designation is rescinded in writing. Essential personnel will be expected to maintain their normal work schedule, or adjusted schedules required due to unexpected disruption, unless or until otherwise notified. 

5. Review and Adjudication

The following is the department, office, or individual responsible for overseeing implementation of and assuring compliance with this policy. Any individual with questions about the policy should contact:

UFHR – Employee Relations
903 W. University Avenue
P.O. Box 115000
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-1072
EmployeeRelations@hr.ufl.edu (to expedite a response, please include the phrase “Essential Employees” in the subject line of any email inquiries or reports) 

6. Policy Violations

Failure to comply with this policy could result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Additional Resources

Administrative Leave Guidance for Emergency Closures

Essential Employee Designation Letter


History:  Updated 1-1-2019, Updated 3-24-2020, Updated 3-26-2020, Amended 8-9-2022 (administrative)