LEAVE OF ABSENCE
Returning Volunteer: Volunteers may return within 3 months of their departure or resignation and maintain their level within the program provided that they have submitted a request to do so to the Volunteer Committee prior to their departure. Returning Keeper Trainees, Keepers, Senior Keepers, Master Keepers, Partners and Senior Partners must pass a Cleaning Map Test upon their return prior to performing duties above that of Partner Trainee. Duties within their level may be reduced for a period of time until the Volunteer Committee and the Operations Manager are satisfied that they are back up to speed to continue maintaining their previous duties. If more than 3 months has expired and no notice was given to the Volunteer Committee regarding returning at a later date to the program, the returnee must start out at Trainee level and in some cases may be required to repeat Volunteer Orientation. Seasonal volunteers may return if more than 3 months and less than a maximum of 6 months has passed and maintain their current level provided they volunteer 50 (or equivalent to intern) hours per week. These volunteers can advance to Yellow Level Keeper and are eligible to complete Small Cat Cleaning and Enrichment only. Seasonal volunteers will not be able to advance past this level.
If a Senior Keeper volunteer requests to return to the program after having been absent more than 6 months and less than a maximum of 3 years and had served as a Senior Keeper a minimum of 4 years prior to their departure the Volunteer Committee will vote on whether to grant the following terms; the volunteer will return as a red level keeper and must complete all red level classes and certifications, once complete the volunteer will move on to yellow level and must complete all yellow level classes and certifications before moving on to green level. The volunteer must serve a minimum of 32 hours per month starting out at red level and must continue to maintain the minimum hourly requirement throughout their red and yellow levels.
Returning Intern Policy: No more than 6 months may lapse between the end of one internship level and the beginning of the next internship level. If more than 6 months has transpired the intern will be required to repeat the classes and training of the previous internship before advancing to the the training of the current internship. Up to half of the internship may be spent performing the previous intern level duties. Every intern is required to pass a Cleaning Map Test upon their return for a Level 2-4 Internship prior to beginning Level 2-4 training. Interns who travel out of state and back between internships must quarantine in housing for 2 weeks (if space is available) or produce a negative COVID-19 test prior to coming on to property.
Return to Duty Policy for Hospitalized Volunteers: If a volunteer has been injured or ill or hospitalized due to an injury or illness; The volunteer must notify the Volunteer Committee if they will be unable to meet the minimum hourly requirements for their level due to their injury or illness. If the injury or illness is serious, a copy of a work release form obtained from their doctor must be provided to the Volunteer Committee and will filed in their permanent file. The volunteer will be able to return to the program at their shirt level provided they have applied for a medical leave of absence and they are physically able to safely perform the duties they have been assigned within the program. If the volunteers absence is longer than the permitted three months, the volunteer may be moved down a level within the program. The Volunteer Committee will evaluate each situation on a case by case basis. Upon return from a serious injury or illness, the volunteer may be assigned lite or restricted duties until the Volunteer Committee and the volunteer feel that full duties can be restored. Depending on the length of absence the volunteer may be required to pass a Cleaning Map Test prior to performing duties above that of Partner Trainee.
Returning Volunteer Discount: A past volunteer or intern returning to the program will be offered a reduced Volunteer Orientation rate of $50 per person.
Infractions of Volunteer Rules, Code of Conduct, & Code of Honor: The Volunteer Program Policies, Code of Conduct and Code of Honor apply to all Volunteers, Interns, Staff, and Guests (where applicable) while on the property. Each person is responsible to abide by and enforce these Policies and Codes. Any infraction of the Policies or Codes should be immediately brought to the violator’s attention as well as to the Coordinator and the Volunteer Committee. The Volunteer Coordinator should first council the violator and then must log the incident on the Volunteer Coordinator site. The Volunteer Committee will review these entries and fill out an Incident Report (available on the BigCat.me site in the Training and Docs section on the left hand side bar) when deemed necessary. This report should be filled out with the pertinent information. The Volunteer Committee will decide the appropriate action or disciplinary measure (demotion, dismissal, etc.). Any infraction of BCR policies or code of conduct may result in an Incident Report, which will become a permanent record in the violator’s file.
Demotion of Level: Any volunteer who does not meet the requirements for their level will be reduced to the level for which requirements are being met. The Volunteer Committee reserves the right to query volunteers, either in writing or in person, in order to establish whether or not requirements are, or are not, being met before making their determination.
Dismissals and Denials: The Volunteer Committee retains the right to permanently excuse anyone from the program or from the property if his or her conduct is deemed unbecoming for a volunteer representing Big Cat Rescue. The Volunteer Committee may also deny any individual from joining the Volunteer Program.