Weather Emergencies

Date: January 2015

Philosophy and Purpose: As a residential college, Bowdoin does not cancel scheduled classes due to weather emergencies. However, in the case of extreme weather conditions, this policy assists employees in understanding whether their attendance is necessary in order to care for the health and welfare of the students.

Policy: In case of extreme weather conditions, the Treasurer may declare a "weather emergency" during which only certain departments are open and in which essential personnel, as determined in advance by the College, are required to work. This authority may be delegated to the Director of Facilities Management on weekends and outside of normal operating hours. It should be generally presumed that classes will continue and that, at a minimum, essential services such as dining, facilities management, and security will remain operating.

Please refer to the current version of the Weather Emergency Policy available online. You may also refer to the appropriate Payroll guidelines  and flowchart for administrative and support staff to record time during weather emergencies.  Generally, administrative staff are not expected to work when a weather emergency has been declared.  There is no need to record any exception time in Workday when you are away from work due to a weather emergency.  However, if an employee is on vacation or using sick time during a weather emergency, any time off should still be recorded as vacation or sick in Workday. 


Philosophy and Purpose: The College has many buildings and work areas that are not air-conditioned. During the summer season, when external temperatures in the high 80’s and 90’s 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. Managers must seek approval of their senior officer or the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer.

Guidelines for Managers:

Managers should recognize that heat and humidity affect different employees in different ways. 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 and leaving earlier in the day
-encourage employees to dress in cooler, appropriate casual dress.
-if time sensitive or critical work must be accomplished, consider temporarily moving employees into air-conditioned spaces if available (a partial list follows):
McLellan Building – Contact HR x 3837
Human Resources Conference Room
Communications Conference Room
Multi-purpose Room (booked through Campus Scheduler x3421)
Ham House – Contact Treasurer’s Office x 3242
Bette Massey Conference Room
Admissions – Contact Admissions Operations x 3197
Admissions Conference Room – Lower Level
Smith Union – Contact Campus Scheduler x 3421
Conference Room – 1st Level
Hatch Library
Some of these spaces do 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 Director 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.

Guidelines for Employees:

In case of warm weather conditions, employees should take precautions to work safely:
-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 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.