Inclement Weather

The chancellor is responsible for determining if, for the safety and welfare of students and staff, UW–Madison classes will be postponed or some services suspended due to inclement weather.

Functional Owner

Chief Human Resources Officer

Executive Sponsor

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration

Policy Contact

Director, Office of Workforce Relations

Policy Summary

The UW–Madison 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 to maintain campus infrastructure or provide core campus services regardless of weather conditions, e.g. University Housing and Dining, University Police, essential research and animal care, power plant operations, etc.

Who This Policy Applies To

This policy applies to all University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty, academic staff, university staff and limited appointees. For the purposes of this policy, the term “employee” refers to the aforementioned faculty and staff.

Other employees should follow directives as established by their work units.

Rationale

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is committed to the safety and welfare of the campus community. Inclement weather can negatively impact students, faculty, and staff, and the normal operations of the campus. This policy provides necessary and appropriate inclement weather guidelines for employees.

Policy Detail

In the event of inclement weather, 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 due to inclement weather 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.

Colleges, schools, divisions and other campus units may not close on their own. 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 remain in operation regardless of weather conditions, e.g. University Housing and Dining, University Police, essential research and animal care, power plant operations, etc. University child care services and functions may close, consistent with their policies and procedures due to their unique operational needs and the safety of those students.

If an employee is unable to or directed not to report to work due to inclement weather, supervisors and employees should work together to find alternative work arrangements, including working remotely and/or modifying work schedules, whenever possible.

If an employee is unable to report or directed not to report to work due to inclement weather and is unable to secure alternative work arrangements, the employee must use available annual leave (vacation or personal holiday), leave without pay, or when appropriate, accrued compensatory time to cover the absence. University staff non-exempt employees (hourly and subject to overtime requirements) must use available leave to cover each hour absent. Academic staff or university staff exempt employees (salaried and not subject to overtime requirements) should work with their supervisor to account for the absence in the manner consistent with the exempt nature of their duties. If classes are postponed, faculty should make every effort to reschedule them at a later date.

University Communications Staff will work with the Chancellor to provide weather-related announcements to the campus and the media and employees should watch for weather-related announcements.

Note: Nothing in this section shall otherwise affect the authority of the chancellor under sec. 36.115(3) of the Wisconsin Statutes to develop, administer, or modify UW–Madison’s HR policy as needed.

Consequences for Non-Compliance

If an employee fails to notify his/her supervisor that he/she cannot report to work, will report to work late, and/or must leave work early due to inclement weather, the employee may be subject to applicable and appropriate corrective progressive discipline.

Supporting Tools

For the latest information on weather-related closings or changes to campus operations, visit: wisc.edu or @uwmadison on Twitter.

Campus bus service may be impacted by weather. For more information on service and delays, visit Madison Metro online.

Winter road condition information is available from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation online.

Campus weather forecast information can be found online at the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

Community-wide warnings for dangerous weather are sent automatically to cell phones by some cell phone providers. For more information, check with your cell phone provider or check with Wireless Emergency Alerts.

Other forms of notification may include, but are not limited to: sirens, the Wisconsin Emergency Alert System, local media outlets via Internet, television, radio, and newspapers, cell phone applications that monitor weather, and dedicated weather radios.

Definitions

Inclement weather: Severe weather or other conditions that place the health and safety of students, employees, and the public at risk.

Responsibilities

Chancellor
  • In accordance with Chapter 36, and delegated authority from the Board of Regents, the Chancellor has the authority to cancel classes, close all or part of the institution to the public, or completely close all or part of the institution to the public and employees. While the decision rests with the Chancellor, the effect of a complete institution closing makes it preferable to ensure that institutions remain open to all staff, if at all possible, even where cancellation of classes or public events is necessary. When inclement weather or emergency conditions exist, every effort will be made to keep the University of Wisconsin–Madison open and operating as normal. The Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison will implement the institution’s inclement weather/emergency conditions policy including the approval protocol for emergency closure of specific buildings if necessary.
Dean/Director
  • Understand the inclement weather policy provisions.
  • Receive Chancellor authorization before closing any work location and/or directing employees not to report to work and/or directing employees to go home.
Supervisor
  • Understand the inclement weather policy provisions.
  • Collaborate with employees who are unable to report to work or will have a delayed arrival due to inclement weather.
  • Notify employees if they need to report to work even when a partial campus closure occurs.
Employees
  • Understand the inclement weather policy provisions.
  • Notify supervisor in the event that they are unable to report to work, or will have a delayed arrival, due to inclement weather.

Link to Policy

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