Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

University reminds employees about severe-weather policy

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, using good judgment about the risk of travel..

In the event of severe weather:

• Campus officials will attempt to keep the university open for classes and maintain regular operations because most students live on campus.

• 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, faculty 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. (Specific directions for U-M Health System employees are below.)

• U-M employees are expected to take vacation time or 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.

For U-M Heath System employees:

• During an emergency closing for the university, only areas of the Health System that are considered "noncritical" will shut down. Hospitals, many clinical facilities, public safety, transportation, food services, Plant Operations and some research labs are considered critical services. Any closures will be communicated within the Health System and on the Health System website.

• UMHS faculty, staff and trainees are expected to make every reasonable effort to report to work if operations are being maintained in their department, and should plan extra time to get to work on snowy or icy days. If reasonable attempts to do so fail, employees should notify their supervisors of their inability to report to work and of the conditions which prevent them from doing so.

• A four-wheel-drive (4WD) program, offering severe winter weather transportation provided by volunteer employees at U-M Hospitals and Health Centers, may be activated in especially severe circumstances. Activation of the 4WD Program will be determined by UMHS leadership and communicated via global e-mail. For details, please review the 4WD Policy at from any Health System computer (or computer logged into the UMHS Virtual Private Network).

• UMHS faculty and staff should refer to the Severe Weather Plan for detailed information. Go to from any Health System computer (or computer logged into the UMHS Virtual Private Network) to see the plan. To review the relevant SPG go to

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