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Adverse Weather (SPA)

Purpose

Adverse weather conditions occasionally disrupt work schedules and interfere with normal work-related activities. When these conditions prevent employees from fulfilling work obligations, the adverse weather policy permits some flexibility in adjusting works schedules to accommodate employees’ personal needs.

Eligibility

This policy applies to all permanent SPA employees.

Because temporary employees are not eligible for paid leave, they cannot code adverse weather leave nor be paid for any time not worked.

Emergency Employees

Some University operations require employees to report for work in order to provide emergency services during periods of adverse weather. The department head identifies these emergency employees, and must provide them with advance written notice of this status. Emergency duty status must be considered a condition of employment for these employees and must be included in the official position description, as well as on the employee’s work plan, and must be indicated as a position attribute in the Human Resource Information System (HRIS).

Emergency employees may include but are not limited to SPA employees in positions involving:

  • Public safety;
  • Direct patient care;
  • The immediate maintenance of University information systems;
  • University-sponsored research that would be jeopardized or compromised seriously as a result of an absence of these employees;
  • Facility or equipment repair that is deemed essential to the immediate preservation of University property and resources.

Emergency employees who are required to remain at work during hazardous times may be relieved of duties for the period of time necessary to assure the safety of their families. When conditions cause an emergency employee to arrive late, management may determine that the conditions justified the late arrival. An emergency employee’s failure to report to work during an adverse weather event may result in disciplinary action if deemed appropriate by management. Management is expected to consult with Employee & Management Relations in the Office of Human Resources before taking such disciplinary action. Any emergency employees who cannot work during a closing for whatever reason must be allowed to code Adverse Weather leave following the guidelines provided in this policy.

In some cases, department necessity may require that employees who had not been designated as emergency must report to work (or remain at work) during an emergency situation. Management shall establish a procedure for notifying these employees individually. Such an event would not necessarily result in a permanent change to emergency status for the position and would not require a change to the position attributes in HRIS.

All employees required to work during an emergency situation or adverse weather event must be paid at their regular rate for all hours worked (subject to wage-hour overtime provisions). In addition, these employees must receive paid time off (on an hour-for-hour basis) for all hours worked while the University is closed due to the event. 

Permanent SPA employees (either exempt or non-exempt) must use this paid time off within 12 months of the event or the time is forfeited.

Note: Employees who were not required by their departments to work during a University closing but who did in fact work during the closed time frame must be paid their regular rate for all hours worked but will not receive paid time off.

Condition Levels

Unless closed by the Chancellor or his designee, the University is always open, and the employee decides whether to come to work given the existing weather conditions both in the Chapel Hill area and in the employee’s home community.

The adverse weather status of the University is designated by three condition levels:

CONDITION LEVEL I: This is “normal” weather conditions up to moderate snow accumulations, power outages, etc. Staff can still navigate the campus and local areas safely. Classes are in session and University offices are open. Employees are encouraged to exercise caution while traveling. Unless otherwise stated, the University always functions at a Condition Level I for adverse weather.

CONDITION LEVEL II: This is more severe weather — heavy snow or ice, heavy accumulations; public transportation limited. Sidewalks are in poor condition. Available parking is limited. Classes are canceled, but University offices are open. Emergency employees must report to work, while other employees are strongly urged to consider campus conditions and the weather conditions in their residential area, as well as law enforcement reports of road conditions, before making a decision whether to come to work.

CONDITION LEVEL III: This is extremely bad weather — unusually large accumulations of snow, ice, sleet, etc. Law enforcement is advising no one to travel except in an emergency. Roads are impassable. Public transportation is canceled. Parking conditions and sidewalks are unnavigable. In the interest of safety, the Chancellor has closed the University. Classes are canceled, and University offices are closed. Emergency employees must report for work. Employees who have not been designated “emergency” must not attempt to come to their worksites.

Other conditions hazardous to life or safety that might also warrant the closing of the University include, but are not limited to, hurricanes, ice storms, terrorist acts, or contamination by hazardous agents. If the Chancellor closes the University for any of these or for comparable reasons, the guidelines found is this policy will apply.

The adverse weather policy also covers time lost by employees due to school closings (K-12) or regular child care that is temporarily unavailable due to severe weather conditions if this results in employees having to care for their children during their regular work hours.

During weather conditions that do not warrant closing of the University, all staff are responsible for their regularly assigned duties. It is recognized that in some individual cases travel may be hazardous even though closing is not warranted. In those cases, everyone is advised to take all reasonable precautions in coming to campus given their personal circumstances.

The adverse weather policy is always in effect. Whenever significant weather conditions occur that result in employees not being able to work their regularly scheduled number of hours for the week, employee may apply adverse weather leave to the time they were unable to work. 

However, adverse weather leave is not intended for incidental use due to slightly inclement weather (for example, delays on arriving to work due to scraping ice off the windshield in the morning or slow traffic due to rainy conditions).  It is intended for significant weather-related conditions that result in late arrivals, early departures, or other absences.  Management has discretion in confirming that an absence qualifies under the Adverse Weather Leave policy.  Questions regarding eligible situations can be referred to the Employee & Management Relations Consultant assigned to your department for appropriate policy interpretation.

Announcements

In the event of severe weather, employees have several resources available for learning the current status of the University:

ADVERSE WEATHER AND EMERGENCY PHONE LINE: Call 919-843-1234 for a recorded message on the adverse weather status for the University.

WEBSITE: Adverse weather condition levels can be found on the University homepage at http://www.unc.edu

RADIO: Regarding University operations and Chapel Hill buses, tune into Radio Station WNJW, 1610 am, the Travelers Information System. WUNC (91.5 FM) will also broadcast regular announcements regarding any weather-related closings.

TELEVISION: Most local television stations will report weather-related closings during severe weather events.

Should the University close due to adverse weather, an announcement will be made by the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s representative. If conditions develop during the work day that require the University to close, the campus will be informed through regular administrative channels.

An announcement that University classes have been canceled does not necessarily mean that administrative offices have been closed.

Any announcement indicating the closing of State government offices due to adverse weather does not apply to the University.

Accounting for Adverse Weather Time

Employees must account for any work time lost due to adverse weather. This is true if individual offices close, if an employee leaves work early, or if an employee does not report to work due to transportation difficulty as a result of adverse weather.

Exception: If the Chancellor or Chancellor’s representative closes the University (Condition III) employees will not have to make up the work hours lost due to adverse weather conditions during the period of the closing and will be paid for the hours lost.

As with other types of leave, Adverse Weather leave cannot be coded if it would result in the total number of hours compensated to an employee in a work week to exceed 40 hours, even if the University was closed due to the event. (The potential leave amount is offset by any additional hours worked in the work week. See “Make-up Time in the Same Work Week” below and “Determining Time Worked” in the Related Subjects section below.)

Employees who were scheduled for an absence from work during an adverse weather event cannot code adverse weather leave. Instead, these employees would code leave, leave without pay, or other paid time off as previously planned with their supervisors, even if the University was closed due to the event.

Subject to supervisory approval and wage-hour (overtime) provisions, time lost due to adverse weather may be made up. Departments are strongly encouraged to allow make-up opportunities whenever possible. The employee decides how to account for hours lost from work due to adverse weather.

There are three ways in which an employee may account for adverse weather time:

  • Make up the time lost within the same work week by working additional hours or by coding paid leave.
  • Make up the time lost in a different work week by coding Adverse Weather Leave for the time lost and make up the time within 12 months of the date of absence.
  • Take unpaid leave for the time lost.

Make-Up Time in the Same Work Week

If possible and if approved in advance by management, employees may make up the hours within the same work week.

In addition, employees may choose to code paid leave for the absence by using any available:

  • Holiday ETO
  • Compensatory Time Off
  • Adverse Weather ETO
  • Travel Time ETO
  • On-Call Time Off
  • Paid Leave Award
  • Vacation Leave
  • Bonus Leave

Sick leave and other forms of leave not listed above may not be used to account for adverse weather time.  Employees may also choose to take the time as Leave without Pay.

If severe weather conditions are anticipated, management, as feasible, may allow employees to take work home with them should they not be able to come to their work site the following day(s) due to weather conditions in lieu of coding adverse weather leave or making up time missed.

Any need to apply Adverse Weather Leave (Condition I, II or III) during a work week will be offset by any additional hours worked in the work week.

Make-Up Time in a Different Work Week

If an employee does not make up adverse weather time in the same work week as the adverse weather event, the employee may choose to code Adverse Weather Leave for the hours missed.

NOTE: As with other types of leave, Adverse Weather leave cannot be coded if it would result in the total number of hours compensated to an employee in a work week to exceed 40 hours.

Employees must make up any Adverse Weather Leave within 12 months of the date of absence. Departments are responsible for tracking adverse weather leave balances of their employees.

If approved in advance by the supervisor, employees may work additional hours in a work week in order to make up adverse weather leave.

  • FLSA exempt employees may work additional hours during the work week at any time during the 12-month period. The hours worked in excess of 40 hours may be used to make up adverse weather leave.
  • FLSA non-exempt employees may work additional hours outside their regular schedule in a work week in which less than 40 hours are worked due to scheduled or unscheduled absences. FLSA non-exempt employees cannot make up adverse weather leave if those hours would result in the employee exceeding 40 hours of time worked for that work week.

NOTE: Holiday premium pay and equal time off do not apply if the employee volunteers (with management’s approval) to make up adverse weather time on a University Holiday.

Compensatory time off generated by voluntary or incidental overtime can be used to make up adverse weather leave, if:

  • The compensatory time off was accrued prior to the adverse weather event, or
  • The compensatory time off was accrued after the adverse weather event due to operational necessity (that is, was not accrued solely for the purpose of paying back Adverse Weather).

Employees may choose at any time in the 12 month period to make up the adverse weather leave with available vacation leave, bonus leave, or eligible paid time off.

If the time is not made up by working additional hours within 12 months of the date of the adverse weather absence, then vacation leave, bonus leave, or eligible paid time off must be used, or a dock in pay must be charged by the department, at the employee’s option.

Separations

Adverse weather leave must be made up prior to a termination or to a transfer to another department or state agency.

Recordkeeping

See the Time Information System (TIM) website in the Related Subjects section below for information on recording Adverse Weather related time. See also “Leave/PTO Payouts & Transfers.”

Questions

If you have questions about this policy, contact the Employee & Management Relations Consultant in the Office of Human Resources assigned to work with your department.

If you have questions about your current leave balances, contact your department’s TIM Administrator.

Related Subjects