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UW-Madison’s inclement weather guidelines for employees

Now that we have seen accumulating snow, it is a good time to review UW-Madison’s Inclement Weather Policy. and guidelines.

These guidelines apply to employees working onsite and not to those working remotely.

Key points of the guidelines include:

  • Only the Chancellor has the authority to cancel classes, suspend services, and close the campus to the public and employees. Individual colleges and schools will not close unless the whole campus is closed.
  • Employees should be advised to use discretion regarding their health and safety and that of family members, but they are required to use available annual leave (i.e., vacation, personal holiday), leave without pay, or when appropriate, accrued compensatory time to cover the absence, or arrange to make up time to cover any absences. With supervisor approval, an employee may be permitted to use furlough time during their absence. Unit practices for employee absences should be followed. We understand that many areas on campus are already operating under limited staffing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if operationally possible, supervisors are advised to be flexible in approving employee-requested leave in inclement weather.

UW-Madison Inclement Weather Guidelines for Employees

The chancellor is responsible for determining if classes will be canceled or postponed or some university services suspended due to inclement weather. The chancellor’s decisions will be based on the safety and welfare of students, faculty and staff.

Colleges, schools and other campus units will not close on their own. For locations outside of Madison, deans and directors must receive authorization from the Office of the Chancellor before directing employees not to report to work or sending employees home. Some university services and functions must continue to operate regardless of weather conditions (e.g. University Housing, UW-Madison Police Department, power plant operations). University Communications staff will work with the chancellor to provide weather-related announcements to the campus and the media.

Employees are expected to report to work unless directed otherwise. Each employee is advised to use discretion and caution regarding their health and safety. An employee who reasonably determines that it is not safe to travel will not be subject to discipline for being absent. Supervisors are expected to honor reasonable requests of employees to arrive late or to leave early because of inclement weather. Employees are expected to notify their supervisors if they cannot report to work or will report late.

Employees who are directed not to report or are sent home have the following options:

University Staff non-exempt (hourly and subject to overtime requirements): Must account for all scheduled work time missed according to standard time reporting policy and procedure. Employees must use available annual leave (vacation, banked leave, personal holiday), accrued compensatory time, or leave without pay to cover each hour absent. With supervisor approval, an employee may be permitted to use furlough time during their absence. If current COVID-19 workplace safety measures can be maintained, and 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 as much of the time as is necessary during the remainder of the workweek. With supervisor approval, an employee may also work at home or an alternate location during the inclement weather.

Academic Staff and University Staff exempt (salaried and not subject to overtime requirements): Must account for all scheduled work time missed according to standard time reporting policy and procedure. Employees must use available annual leave (vacation, banked leave, personal holiday), leave without pay, or when appropriate, compensatory time to cover the absence. With supervisor approval, an employee may be permitted to use furlough time during their absence.  If current COVID-19 workplace safety measures can be maintained, an employee and the employee’s supervisor may agree that the employee account for the absence in another manner consistent with the exempt nature of the employee’s position.