Oklahoma State University-Stillwater is a live-in campus with many of our students in close proximity to classes. As a result, the University seldom closes due to inclement weather. However, the University recognizes that travel to and from the campus for work may be difficult for many employees during poor weather conditions.
Policies governing inclement weather can be found on the web at Policies and Procedures. For staff, the appropriate policy is 3-0713, Attendance and Leave for Staff, section 8.01, Inclement Weather.
Staff are encouraged to use extreme caution during inclement weather. The ultimate decision as to how the employee will safeguard his/her safety is at the employee’s discretion. If the employee feels unsafe commuting to work, no matter how close or how far, the employee is encouraged to use his/her best judgment. Individual decision does not exempt the employee from proper notification of an absence to the supervisor or unit administrator.
Inclement Weather and No University Closing
Employees will use annual leave or compensatory leave to cover the absence. If annual leave or compensatory leave is not available, the leave will be without pay. Classified employees within the three-month orientation period may use compensatory leave, if available, or leave without pay. If an employee’s or dependent’s illness coincides with an inclement weather day, sick leave may be taken, provided it is documented in writing to the unit administrator. Employees should continue to maintain contact with the unit administrator regarding the need for an inclement weather absence and expected date/time of return to work.
If the University, due to poor weather conditions, decides to allow employees to leave early at their own discretion to ensure their safety in returning to their homes, then the time will be charged as annual leave or compensatory leave since it is at the employee’s discretion. Staff should notify the supervisor in advance of leaving when exercising this option.
Inclement Weather With University Closing
In certain instances, the administration of the University may make the decision to close all offices except those recognized as necessary to maintain essential services. In the event of the University closing, information will be posted to the OSU web site and a campus-wide message will be distributed. In addition, any decision will be communicated to University offices and radio and television stations, including KOSU, KSPI, channel 31 in Stillwater; KTOK, KFOR (channel 4), KOCO (channel 5), KOKH (channel 25/FOX 25), KSBI (channel 52), KWTV (channel 9), and OETA-PBS (channel 13) in Oklahoma City; and KRMG, KJRH (channel 2), KOKI (channel 23/FOX 23), KOTV (channel 6), KTUL (channel 8), and KOED-PBS (channel 11) in Tulsa.
If the University closes, administrative leave will be recorded for those who were scheduled to work during the time of closing. If an employee is scheduled in advance for annual leave or sick leave, the individual will be charged annual leave or sick leave since the inclement weather did not impact the employee’s plans to work. Although not encouraged, an employee choosing to work even though a closing has been announced, will be paid for working as usual, whether or not the employee was aware of the closing.
While the University is closed, a unit may require certain employees to work to maintain essential services or assist in special necessary functions, such as snow removal. Employees working in response to a request by a unit administrator will be compensated by compensatory time at straight time for the hours worked in addition to being paid for the hours worked. Compensatory time off awarded for this purpose will be recorded on HRS with appropriate time off or pay in the future.
If an employee is scheduled for work, due to emergency snow removal or other essential work, and does not show up for work and fails to call the supervisor to report the absence, the employee will be subject to disciplinary action as under any other circumstance when an employee fails to report for work and fails to call.
If the University decides to close during the work shift and sends staff home early, the time worked will be paid according to the number of hours worked, and the remaining time will be considered administrative leave. If an employee decides to leave work because of concerns over commuting in inclement weather prior to an actual closing time, annual leave or compensatory leave will be charged for leave prior to closing. Likewise, if an employee arrives late at work due to concerns over commuting in inclement weather after the University has resumed activity, annual leave or compensatory leave will be charged for the time while the University is actually open. Time during the actual closing will be charged as administrative leave.
Temporary employees and student employees are paid only for hours actually worked. If unable to work due to the University closing or to inclement weather, these employees may not receive anticipated compensation. The same situation may exist for employees who elect not to work due to inclement weather while the University remains open and do not have or are not able to use annual leave or compensatory leave. Units may choose to allow these employees to work additional hours at another time to make up the shortage of pay; however, such an arrangement would require approval by the supervisor in advance of actual hours being worked. Normal overtime provisions may apply.
Questions regarding these practices can be addressed to OSU Human Resources, (405) 744-5449.
OSU Human Resources developed this information for the convenience of OSU employees. It is a brief interpretation of more detailed and complex materials. If further clarification is needed, the actual law, policy, and contract should be consulted as the authoritative source.