The State Worker

Sensitive to smoke? State workers can ask to work from home or take vacation

State buildings in downtown Sacramento are open and public employees are expected to go to work despite the heavy smoke from the Camp Fire that seems to be seeping into some downtown office buildings.

State workers who are sensitive to the smoke that has settled in downtown Sacramento can ask their supervisors to work from home, Cal HR spokesman Andrew LaMar said.

If that’s not possible, public employees can use vacation hours and stay home.

“We recognize this is a difficult circumstance for some individuals and ask supervisors to be flexible, though leave credits must be taken if the team member is not able to work remotely,” LaMar said.

State government tends to allow employees to take time off of work if they are directly affected by a natural disaster, or if their offices close because of an emergency. Those conditions apply to Butte County, but not in Sacramento County.

Outside of Sacramento, thousands of public employees are working to restore services to communities hit by the fires.

Caltrans workers are equipped with respirators and the department is taking care to rotate them off their outdoor assignments to limit their exposure to smoke, spokesman Matthew Rosenberg said.

The state parks department is allowing employees to work from different offices. It’s also trying to limit the amount of time employees spend outdoors and providing respirators for those who are required to work in the field, the department said.

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