Frequently asked questions, UW inclement weather guidelines for employees
The UW–Madison campus, along with the southern part of Wisconsin, experienced a major snowstorm on Wednesday, Feb. 2. This resulted in the campus canceling classes and other activities due to safety concerns.
This document provides some questions and answers from the Office of Human Resources for this snow event along with UW–Madison inclement weather guidelines.
Campus employees were instructed to follow the UW–Madison inclement weather guidelines that give the employees the discretion to decide whether it is safe or not to travel to work. If the employee determines it is not safe and stays home, they should take appropriate leave (i.e., vacation, personal holiday, furlough, etc.), make up the time, and/or work at home if possible. Supervisors and managers are instructed to be very flexible in this situation.
The basic principle is that if an employee worked on Feb. 2, it will be treated as any other work day and if he or she did not work because of the storm, it will be treated as any other day off – appropriate leave or furlough time must be used unless arrangements are made with the supervisor to make up the time.
Common questions and answers regarding absences due to the snowstorm
What are the options for an employee who did not report to work because of the storm?
Salaried employees (certain classified and all faculty and academic staff employees) may use available leave (vacation, personal holidays, furlough time, etc.) to cover the absence. An employee and the employee’s supervisor may agree that the employee may account for the time of the absences in another manner consistent with the salaried nature of the employee’s work assignment (e.g., working at home or making up the time).
Hourly classified employees must account for each hour of scheduled duty by using available annual leave (vacation), available personal holidays, furlough time or, when appropriate, compensatory time to cover the absence. An employee and the employee’s supervisor may agree that the employee may make up the time – but it must be done within this work week.
No employee may use sick leave to cover the absence unless they were out for a reason that is covered by sick leave.
Do those employees who reported to work get paid extra or receive extra leave? Does it make a difference if they were required to come to work because they perform essential services?
No to both questions. The day will be treated as any other day of work whether or not they were required to come to work because they performed essential services.
Will hourly employees who didn’t report to work due to being directed to stay home (building closure, supervisor/manager direction, etc.) during the snow event need to take leave time to cover the absence?
No. These employees will be compensated based on their normal work schedule for the campus closure period. For classified employees, this includes any applicable differentials the employee would have received for working his/her normal schedule.
How should an employee be compensated if they were lodged the night before or after by the campus to ensure essential campus services were provided?
Employees will be compensated based on the time they worked. They will not be compensated for the time they slept or took extended breaks (e.g., dinner).
UW-Madison Inclement Weather Guidelines for Employees
The chancellor is responsible for determining if, for the safety and welfare of students and staff, classes will be postponed or some services suspended due to inclement weather. Some university services and functions must remain in operation regardless of weather conditions (e.g. University Housing, UW Madison Police Department, power plant operations, etc.).
University Communications staff will work with the chancellor to provide appropriate announcements to the media. Deans and directors should receive authorization from the Office of the Chancellor before directing employees not to report for work or sending employees home. Unless directed otherwise, employees are expected to report to work as scheduled. Each employee is expected to use discretion in determining if travel is safe. An employee who reasonably determines that travel would not be safe will not be subject to discipline for not reporting to work. Supervisors are expected to honor the reasonable requests of employees to arrive late or to leave early because of inclement weather. Employees are expected to make a reasonable effort to notify their supervisors if they cannot report to work or will report late.
Employees who are absent from work because of the inclement weather normally must use available annual leave (vacation), available holidays, leave without pay, furlough, or when appropriate, accrued compensatory time to cover the absence or must arrange with the supervisor to make up the time. Employees not exempt for overtime must account for each hour of scheduled duty. Employees exempt from overtime may account for their time in a manner consistent with their responsibilities, as approved by their supervisors.
If represented classified employees are directed not to report or are sent home they will be treated in accordance with the terms of their respective collective bargaining agreements. (Note: At this time some collective bargaining agreements provide that the employee will be compensated as if the time were worked when the employer directs employees to leave work or not to report to work.)
All employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements who are directed not to report or are sent home will normally be treated as follows:
- Classified (non-exempt from overtime): May use available annual leave (vacation), accrued compensatory time, available holidays, or leave without pay or furlough to cover each hour absent. Non-exempt employees must account for each hour of employment. If an employee’s supervisor determines that the work unit can benefit from services provided by the employee at other than regularly scheduled times, the employee will be allowed to make up, during the remainder of the workweek, as much of the time as is beneficial to the work unit.
- Classified and unclassified (exempt from overtime): May use available annual leave (vacation), available holidays, leave without pay, furlough or when appropriate, compensatory time to cover the absence. An employee and the employee’s supervisor may agree that the employee may account for the time of the absences in another manner consistent with the exempt nature of the employee’s work assignment.
Questions by employees should be directed to their divisional office of human resources.