As one of the region’s largest employers, Scripps Health is offering support to its employees affected by the San Diego County wildfires. Of Scripps Health’s 11,000 employees, nearly 3,000 live in evacuation and burn areas and 15 lost their homes in the firestorm.
Scripps has created new programs responding to the needs of its workforce, in addition to its existing programs designed to help employees during hardships.
“It is important that we take exceptional care of our workforce, especially during times of crisis because of the vital role we play in delivering health care to the San Diego community,” said Scripps Senior Vice President of Human Resources Vic Buzachero. “We offer these programs to ensure that our employees and their families are well cared for, so they in turn can care for our patients.”
New fire emergency assistance programs currently being offered by Scripps Health include:
- Emergency Disaster Grants: Current Scripps employees may apply for a grant if they were evacuated from their homes or incurred loss or damage to their homes and are facing financial hardship as a result of their displacement. Funds may be used for temporary lodging, food, clothes, transportation and other basic needs.
- Emergency Loans: Full- and part-time employees who have limited paid time off (PTO) may request an emergency loan of up to $2,000. Loans require repayment through payroll deduction within 12 months.
- Firestorm Leave: Current Scripps employees whose homes were lost or left uninhabitable due to fire may request up to 80 hours of paid leave (beginning Oct. 21 through Nov. 17, 2007). This is in addition to any existing paid time off accrued and is intended to replace time away from work.
Scripps is also offers the following existing hardship programs to employees:
- Paid Time Off Hardship Cash-Outs: Eligible employees may request a hardship payout of accrued, unused paid time off (PTO). Employees who were evacuated or lost homes and do not have adequate PTO hours may use up to 40 hours of future PTO accrual for time missed from work.
- Pay Advances: Eligible employees may request up to two full paychecks that must be repaid through payroll deduction.
- HOPE Fund Grants: The Helping Our Peers in Emergency (HOPE) fund provides financial and PTO hours to employees with hardship needs. All funds and PTO hours are donated by employees for employees. The HOPE fund was created earlier this year and is administered by the Scripps Health Foundation.
Additionally, during the wildfires, as the weeklong closures of schools and day care centers were announced, Scripps set up temporary day care centers at several of its facilities, which provided care for approximately 500 children of Scripps’ employees. Scripps also purchased blocks of hotel rooms for staff members who were evacuated from their homes.
Denise Tanguay used on-site day care at Scripps corporate offices for her 3-year-old son Jackson. “I otherwise would have had to miss work to look after my son,” said the workforce communications manager. “Having this option available enabled me to continue my job at a critical time.”