A county employee who is a certified disaster services volunteer of the American Red Cross or emergency disaster services volunteer of the Salvation Army or similar volunteer of a disaster services organization approved by the Hennepin County board may be granted leave from work with 50 percent of pay, not to exceed 15 working days in each year, to participate in specialized disaster relief services for the American Red Cross or another approved disaster services organization. The employee must be released from work for this function upon the request of the approved disaster services organization for the services of that employee, and upon the approval of that employee's appointing authority. The appointing authority must compensate the employee granted leave under this section at 50 percent of the employee's regular rate of pay for those regular hours during which the employee is absent from work. This leave, if granted by the appointing authority, does not affect the employee's vacation leave, pension, compensatory time, personal vacation days, sick leave, earned overtime accumulation, or cause a loss of seniority.
The county is not liable for workers' compensation claims arising from accident or injury while a county employee is on an approved assignment with an approved disaster services organization. Duties performed while on disaster leave are not considered to be a work assignment by the county. The employee is granted leave based on the need for expertise in the employee's certified area. Job functions, although similar or related to the employee's county job functions, are performed on behalf of and for the benefit of the disaster services organization.