2017 Inclement Weather Guidelines

We’ve been asked by the UW Office of Human Resources to share UW-Madison’s inclement weather guidelines for employees. You will also hear about these guidelines again from campus leadership as we head into the winter season.

Supervisors: Please post/distribute the this flyer for employees that do not regularly use email. The flyer contains these guidelines in English (also below), Spanish, Hmong, Tibetan, and Chinese.

Key Points

  • 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 appropriate leave (i.e., vacation, personal holiday) or arrange to make up time to cover any absences. Unit practices for employee absences should be followed. Supervisors are advised to be flexible, if operationally possible, 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 use available annual leave (vacation, personal holiday), accrued compensatory time, or leave without pay to cover each hour absent. Non-exempt (hourly) 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 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 use available annual leave (vacation, personal holiday), leave without pay, or when appropriate, compensatory time to cover the absence. 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.

If you have questions about this policy, speak to your supervisor or contact FP&M Human Resources.