Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, December 4, 2009

University reminds employees about procedures for bad weather

As temperatures drop and weather forecasts increasingly contain the word “snow,” campus leaders would like to remind the community that the university’s severe-weather policy encourages all employees to make a reasonable effort to report to work as scheduled.

Because most students live on campus, officials will attempt to keep the university open for classes and maintain regular operations during severe weather.

If operations are being maintained in a staff member’s department, he or she should report to work or notify his or her supervisor if reasonable attempts to do so fail, according to the University’s Standard Practice Guide (SPG) on Emergency Closure and Emergency Operations Reduction, SPG 201.27.

Students and staff members who live a distance away are asked to make every reasonable effort to get to campus so that essential services can be maintained. At the same time they are advised to use good judgment about the risks of travel.

Employees are expected to take vacation time or U-M Health System (UMHS) Paid Time Off if they miss work. Staff members also may elect time off without pay.

If the university declares an emergency closing, SPG 201.27, states: During the first two days of an emergency closure or reduction, pay and benefits will continue for regular faculty and staff. Regular staff who are required or approved and do report to work during an emergency closure or operations reduction will, in addition to their regular compensation, have added to their vacation accrual an amount of time equal to the hours actually worked. Regular staff members who work beyond their normal schedule will be paid in accordance with the university’s overtime policy (SPG 201.38). Pay issues are determined after the impact of the storm is assessed.

In the event severe weather begins after staff members are at work, it is up to the department to determine whether employees may leave early.

UMHS officials note that even during an emergency closing for the University, only areas of the Health System that are considered “noncritical” will shut down. Hospitals, certain clinical facilities, public safety, transportation, food services, Plant Operations, housing and some research labs are considered critical services, and staff members are expected to make every effort to report to work. UMHS employees should call their supervisors if they are unable to report to work or are delayed.

The Health System can provide some essential staff members who live in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area with a ride to work during severe weather. Supervisors or department heads will determine which employees need transportation assistance by calling staff members in advance of their shifts.

To review the relevant SPG go to To review the Health System’s Severe Weather Plan go to from any Health System computer.

Staff members represented by a union should consult their appropriate collective bargaining agreement for severe weather procedures.