Leave & Job Protection for Volunteer Emergency Management, Emergency Services & Disaster Workers
On April 24, 2008, Governor Bill Ritter signed House Bill 08-1097 into law; now located in Colorado Revised Statutes §24-33.5-822-828 following the reorganization in House Bill 12-1283. The bill provides leave and job protection for volunteer emergency management, emergency services, and disaster workers under certain circumstances.
The bill went into effect August 6, 2008. Now, Civil Air Patrol and other volunteer emergency workers working for qualified volunteer organizations, who are requested to respond to a disaster emergency, will be entitled to take leave for up to 15 working days each year. Private sector employees will be entitled to unpaid leave and government workers will be entitled to paid leave. All are protected against loss of job, seniority, retirement benefits, rank, etc., while on such leave.
In order to be qualified, volunteer organizations must be certified to the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Office of Emergency Management by a sheriff, local government, state agency, or by a local emergency planning committee (LEPC). The certification attests that the organization and the sheriff or director of a local government, state agency, or LEPC have developed and signed a memorandum of understanding covering use of the organization and its volunteers during disaster emergencies. The required forms include:
- Application for Enrollment on the Qualified Volunteer Organization List
- Certification of Individual Volunteer Service in a Disaster Emergency
Once the organization is listed, a volunteer member will be protected when he or she performs satisfactorily in a disaster emergency at the request of a sheriff, local or state agency, or LEPC and provides a certification of that from his or her own organization of the employing government.
Although they may be eligible under this law as well, volunteer firefighters are provided job protection for fire calls under another statute (CRS 31-30-1131). Red Cross volunteers eligible for disaster leave as state employees will be provided with a maximum total of 15 working days leave under this law and the Red Cross leave provisions.
No employer will be required to grant leave to more than 20% of his employees at any one time, and employees deemed essential to the employer’s operations and income or disaster services may likewise be denied leave.
The bill also removes some limitations on sovereign immunity protections to governments and volunteers within the Disaster Emergency Act.
If you have questions regarding this bill or the required procedures, call the Office of Emergency Management at 720-852-6600.
List of Qualified Volunteer Organizations
|ORGANIZATION||SPONSORING JURISDICTION||EFFECTIVE DATE|
|Larimer Search & Rescue, Inc.||Larimer County||1/5/2009|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers||Durango Police Department||4/20/2009|
|Routt County Search & Rescue||Routt County Sheriff||5/11/2009|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||City of Salida||5/14/2009|
|Vail Police Department - Volunteers in Policing (VIP)||Town of Vail Police Department||5/26/2009|
|Vail Citizen's Emergency Response Team (CERT)||Town of Vail Police Department||5/26/2009|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||City of Rocky Ford Police||5/26/2009|
|Office of Emergency Management, Aguilar, Colorado||Office of Emergency Management for the town of Aguilar||6/1/2009|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||Town of Bayfield||
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||Town of Monument||7/28/2009|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||Town of Palmer Lake||7/28/2009|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||La Plata County sheriff||11/3/2009|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||Town of Ordway||8/6/2010|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||Town of Green Mountain Falls Marshal's Office||8/5/2010|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||City of Manitou Springs Police Department||8/24/2010|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||Teller County||11/4/2010|
|Frontline Search & Rescue||Teller County||11/4/2010|
|Teller County Search & Rescue||Teller County||11/4/2010|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||Archuleta County Sheriff's Office||6/23/2011|
|Garfield County Search & Rescue||Garfield County Sheriff's Office||12/15/2011|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||Canon City Area Fire Protection District||6/18/2012|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||Douglas County Sheriff's Office||6/18/2012|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||Town of Fairplay Police Department||7/3/2012|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||Fowler Police Department||7/9/2012|
|Colorado Mounted Rangers/ Colorado Rangers||Salida Police Department||
|Colorado Mounted Rangers||Fremont County||
|Colorado Mounted Rangers||Town of Ft. Lupton||
Colorado Mounted Rangers
|Community College of Aurora||
Colorado Mounted Rangers
|Town of Elizabeth||5/3/2013|
Alpine Rescue Team
|Clear Creek County||5/3/2013|
Boulder County Amateur Radio Emergency System