Inclement Weather (Weather Emergencies)

Date: March 2018

Philosophy and Purpose: As a residential college, employees and students should generally presume that classes will meet and that all essential services (dining, facilities, security, etc..) will remain in operation. Barring a suspension of normal operations, all employees are expected to make every reasonable effort to be at work.

In the rare case of extreme or hazardous weather conditions such that normal administrative and/or academic operations are suspended and only essential services are provided, this policy assists employees in understanding whether their attendance is required.

When weather conditions make travel to work difficult but a weather emergency has not been declared, employees are expected to make every reasonable effort to be at work. Positions deemed non-essential, may choose to stay home and not work, come to work late, or depart early, after consultation with their supervisor. Some positions, typically those that are administrative in nature, may allow for work to be done remotely, with advance supervisor approval. All regularly scheduled hours, not worked, are to be covered by accrued paid time (e.g. vacation or personal emergency). Employees may make up hours during the same pay period in accordance with the Weather Emergency Guidelines as coordinated with their supervisor.  If an employee decides not to travel to work AFTER a "delayed start" weather emergency, then ALL regularly scheduled hours for that day should be covered by accrued time (e.g., vacation or personal emergency).

Weather Emergency Declared

The senior vice president for finance and administration may declare a weather emergency in case of extreme weather conditions. Any decision related to the suspension of normal operations in which essential employees, as determined in advance by the College, are required to work will be communicated in accordance with the Treasurer’s Office Weather Emergencies  web page. This may include delayed starts, early releases or office closings during which only certain departments are open. Outside of normal operating hours and on weekends this authority may be delegated to the director of facilities operations & maintenance, director of safety and security, and executive director of dining and campus services, in consultation with the vice president of human resources.

Essential Employees

Employees whose positions are determined to be essential are notified of this status by their supervisor and whether they are expected to report to work if the College decides to alter working business hours or suspend normal operations due to a weather emergency. Essential employees should refer to the Weather Emergency Guidelines for information on how to be compensated for time worked during a weather emergency.

Payroll Guidance
Please refer to the Payroll guidelines and flowchart for administrative and support staff to record time during weather emergencies. A summary of the guidance for a declared weather emergency follows:

Support staff (hourly paid/non-exempt) need to record their regularly scheduled hours as either: ‘hours worked’ for any time worked prior to or after a declared weather emergency; or as ‘weather emergency non-essential’ time for the actual hours worked during any part of a declared weather emergency. For additional information, refer to the guidance offered above. 

Administrative staff (salaried/exempt) do not need to record exception time (e.g. vacation, personal emergency) in Workday when away from work due to a college declared weather emergency. If a department determines that some or all of their administrative staff are required to work during a weather emergency, they should consult with their manager and arrange to take comparable time off at a mutually agreed date/time.

If an employee (hourly or salaried) had previously requested vacation or sick time that happens to fall during a College-declared weather emergency, the time off should still be recorded as vacation or sick in Workday. 

Extreme Warm Weather Conditions

The College has a few buildings and work areas that are not air-conditioned. During the summer season, when external temperatures above 85 degrees are coupled with high humidity, or when the local media issue hot weather alert warnings, managers should assess the conditions in their employees’ work environments and consider appropriate action with the approval of their department’s senior officer. Guidelines for managers:

Managers should recognize that heat and humidity may affect each employee differently. In cases of warm temperature conditions, managers should assess the conditions in their employees’ work environments and consider appropriate actions including:

  • ensure opportunities for suitable breaks (e.g., increased frequency and/or duration of breaks)
  • ensure water and other suitable beverages are readily available
  • establish a periodic check-in schedule throughout the day to ensure employees are working safely
  • ask employees if they would be willing to work alternative schedules (e.g., arriving earlier in the day or leaving earlier in the day)
  • encourage employees to dress in cooler, appropriate casual dress.
  • if time sensitive or critical administrative work must be accomplished, consider temporarily moving employees into air-conditioned spaces if available (a partial list follows with whom to contact):

    • 216 Maine Street – HR x 3837 (Basement or 2nd floor conference room)
    • Ham House –Treasurer’s Office x 3242 (Bette Massey conference room)
    • Admissions – x 3197 (Admissions Operations or lower level conference room)
    • Smith Union – Campus Scheduler x 3421 (Conference Room – 1st Level)
    • 85 Union Street - Communications x 3306 (3rd floor conference room)
    • Hatch Library

Some of these spaces have computer hook-ups available, although individual departments will need to arrange for a laptop or PC to be set up, if required.

If circumstances do not permit the previous alternatives, a manager, in consultation with his/her senior officer (or if the senior officer is not available, in consultation with the vice president of human resources) may dismiss the employee(s) early. Under this scenario, the employee(s) would be paid for the time they were regularly scheduled to work that day.

Employees should take precautions to work safely under warm weather conditions by following these guidelines:

  • Stay hydrated by taking frequent water breaks
  • Pace your work to prevent overheating, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke
  • Avail yourself of temporary, air-conditioned space if possible

If warm weather conditions become extreme, employees should approach their manager about their working conditions and ask the manager to consider intervention by taking actions listed under the Guidelines for Managers.