Weather-related absences

Memorandum from the Office of Human Resources

Date: Nov. 23, 2021

To: Classified and Professional Staff

From: Joseph P. Schultz, Associate Vice President for Human Resources

Subject: Weather-related Absences

Winter is quickly approaching and with it comes a refresher on the campus policies on winter preparedness and planning.

Please review this information with your employees and supervisors and discuss how a change in campus operations impacts you.

Continuity of Operations

During inclement weather, the University must maintain functions and services that meet the needs of students, provide safety operations, maintain buildings and support critical research programs. Therefore, departments should identify and prioritize these functions, and supervisors should communicate expectations to employees who support these functions well ahead of any anticipated weather-related disruptions. Now would be a good time for departments to take some time to develop and review their continuity plans to ensure these vital campus services are provided during a weather event.

Employee Travel

Staff should make a reasonable effort to arrive at work for their regular scheduled shifts. However, there may be occasions when road conditions create an undue hazard. In these cases, supervisors, managers and department heads are authorized to excuse a reasonable amount of tardiness (that is, to treat it as an approved absence charged to leave credits) and not to assess penalties.

Full-day absences resulting from hazardous weather conditions may not be excused but need to be charged to appropriate leave credits if the department is satisfied that it was not possible for the employee to report to work. Requests to charge such absences to sick leave may be subject to medical documentation.

Local governnmental officials, police and media outlets do not have the authority to close state offices and facilities. Declarations of a state of emergency/road closures are not equivalent to the closing of state facilities. If classes are canceled, that announcement will be made directly by campus.

Cancellation of Classes

When classes are cancelled, employees who can accomplish their duties remotely may request supervisory approval to fulfill their work obligation from an alternate work location. There is no entitlement to this arrangement. Employees and supervisors should have initial discussions regarding this possibility now to determine if this will be feasible or not. In general, this does not apply to essential employees that perform work in grounds, central heating plant, maintenance and custodial, law enforcement, animal care, health services, those with responsibility for laboratory experiments, select administrative employees who may need to meet administrative deadlines (i.e., payroll) and other employees who are essential to maintaining the University's vital or mission-critical services.

If inclement weather conditions arise during the workday, staff may request permission to leave early and charge appropriate accruals. Supervisors and managers will make every effort to approve such requests within operational need.

If severe and extraordinary weather conditions arise during the workday and the University is closed by the governor's order, directed early departures are not charged to leave accruals.

Communication

If classes are canceled due to a weather event, an announcement via B-ALERT will be sent by 6 a.m. on days when there are hazardous driving conditions. The B-ALERT will state, "All in-person classes are canceled." Instructors should notify their students of how to proceed to make up the in-person class if a make-up is required. 

Sign up for B-ALERT at https:www.binghamton.edu/emergency/emergency-notification/text-alerts.html.

c. President Stenger, Senior Officers, Deans