We are privately owned and not affiliated or endorsed by any government agency.

Take the Benefits Quiz

Emergency-essential employee

Definition An “Emergency-essential employee” in military operations refers to an individual who is crucial for the successful execution of a mission during crisis situations. This is often an employee whose skills, knowledge, and abilities are required in a military operation, even in situations of emergency, war, or during the evacuation of certain personnel. Such employees, […]


An “Emergency-essential employee” in military operations refers to an individual who is crucial for the successful execution of a mission during crisis situations. This is often an employee whose skills, knowledge, and abilities are required in a military operation, even in situations of emergency, war, or during the evacuation of certain personnel. Such employees, usually civilians, are expected to continue their duties abroad at military installations or to support military deployments in war or peacetime missions.

Key Takeaways

  1. An Emergency-Essential Employee refers to a position that requires an individual to be stationed overseas or to be deployed in case of conflict, crisis, or any given circumstances that would specifically require their position or services.
  2. These personnel play a vital role in the U.S. Department of Defense’s mission. Their tasks are critical, hence, it is essential they remain operational, irrespective of any surrounding crisis, emergencies or weather conditions.
  3. Emergency-Essential Employees are authorized, under U.S law, with certain military benefits and rights, including pre-deployment training, extra pay during the deployment, and mandatory requirement of the Department of Defense to provide adequate health care during their deployment.


An Emergency-Essential Employee is a critical term in military operations primarily because it refers to individuals who must continue their roles during crises or emergencies to ensure the success and functionality of military operations.

These employees are crucial to the United States Department of Defense, as they provide necessary services that contribute significantly to the military’s capacity to operate smoothly during both routine times and crises, such as conflicts, wars, or natural disasters.

They ensure that vital operations, logistical support, maintenance, and other crucial services continue without disruption.

Their roles underscore the constant readiness and resilience required in military operations, emphasizing the importance of their designation and function.


The term Emergency-Essential Employee is utilized in military operations as a designation for those roles that are crucial to supporting and maintaining the operations of the military, particularly during crisis or emergency situations. These individuals are those who perform jobs vital to national security, defense, or other significant public needs, therefore their presence and continued function are considered essential in instances of national emergency, war, or similar military contingency operations.

The purpose of identifying and classifying employees under the Emergency-Essential Employee category is twofold. The first is to ensure uninterrupted execution of necessary roles, duties and tasks that pertain to the operation and functionality of the military during times of crisis.

The second aim is to provide a clear indication to designated individuals that their role is critical and comes with additional obligations, which may include deployment or remaining in their position, despite potential personal risk, until appropriately relieved. Their assigned responsibilities and obligations often override general evacuation orders in the interest of preserving the operational capabilities of the military.

Examples of Emergency-essential employee

Emergency-essential employees are those personnel who are required to ensure the continued functioning of key operations in case of emergency situations or crisis. Here are three real-world examples:

Military Medical Personnel: In times of crisis and war, medical personnel are critical to the operation of the military. This includes x-ray technicians, nurses, doctors, and medics. These individuals are necessary to tend to wounded soldiers and keep the rest of the unit healthy.

Communications Experts: These employees are necessary to keep lines of communication open during emergencies. This could include radio operators, IT specialists or cybersecurity experts. Maintaining clear and secure channels of communication is vital during military operations, and particularly during crisis situations.

Maintenance and Logistics Personnel: People involved in aircraft, vehicle, weapon maintenance or supply chain management are also considered as emergency-essential employees. They are key to ensuring that transportation modes are ready, weapons are functional, and supplies like food, ammunition, and fuel are available and delivered in crisis situations. They stand as the backbone for the effective combat operations and mission readiness.

FAQ Section: Emergency-Essential Employee

What is an Emergency-Essential Employee?

An Emergency-Essential Employee is a government employee who ensures the continuity of public services during emergency situations such as natural disasters, severe weather conditions, or any other events that cause disruption in government operations.

What roles does an Emergency-Essential Employee play?

Emergency-Essential Employees perform jobs that are deemed vital to a mission or operation. These roles can range from communication professionals, to medical personnel, to law enforcement officers. They ensure essential services continue operating during emergencies.

Are all military employees considered Emergency-Essential?

No, not all military employees are considered Emergency-Essential. The designation is reserved for civilian employees who meet the criteria and are required to ensure the continuity of public services during emergency situations.

What is the responsibility of an Emergency-Essential Employee during a crisis?

An Emergency-Essential Employee is responsible for continuing essential functions, supporting restoration, and assisting in response efforts during a crisis. They may need to work in stressful and potentially hazardous conditions to ensure the continuity of government operations.

How does someone become an Emergency-Essential Employee?

The process to become an Emergency-Essential Employee depends on the specific positions and agencies. Typically, it involves specific qualifications, job functions, and requirements that align with the responsibilities of maintaining essential government services during emergencies.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Deployment
  • Mission-critical duties
  • Continued operations
  • Emergency response
  • Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA)

Sources for More Information

  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM): Federal agency that provides human resources management and support to Federal agencies. They may have resources or documents specifying the role and definition of an emergency-essential employee.
  • U.S Department of Labor (DOL): The DOL might provide relevant definitions or legal terms related to emergency-essential employee in the context of labor laws.
  • U.S Department of Defense (DoD): As emergency-essential employees often refer to those critical to military missions, the Department of Defense may have additional context or definitions.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): Given the emergency aspect of the employee role, FEMA might have related information or definitions on their website.

Benefits.com Advisors

With expertise spanning local, state, and federal benefit programs, our team is dedicated to guiding individuals towards the perfect program tailored to their unique circumstances.

Rise to the top with Peak Benefits!

Join our Peak Benefits Newsletter for the latest news, resources, and offers on all things government benefits.

Related Articles