Inclement Weather

Oklahoma State University-Stillwater is a residential 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.

Inclement Weather FAQs / Banner Timekeeping for Inclement Weather (pdf)

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 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 and follow proper departmental call in procedures 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.

Maintaining Essential Services and Programs

While the University is closed, a unit may require certain employees to work to maintain essential services or assist in special necessary functions. Essential emergency services include but are not limited to maintaining building operations, clearing walkways, streets and parking lots, student residential hall services, and public safety. Unit heads must determine their staffing requirements in advance to ensure the maintenance of these services. Each Unit head is responsible for designating “essential personnel”, including such designation in their position description and communicating that designation to such personnel annually, prior to any inclement weather.  In other instances, certain functions or responsibilities that can be performed by more than one employee in a unit will be so identified and the employees who may potentially perform those functions will be notified. Unit heads are required to inform employees in advance of this determination.

Essential personnel who do not report for work or do not remain at work when the university is closed may be subject to disciplinary action.

Compensation during a University Closing

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 not designated as essential personnel but choosing to work until the end of their shift, will be paid for working as usual, even though a closing has been announced.  This will be the case whether or not the employee was aware of the closing.  If an employee chooses to stay after university closure to wrap up work but leaves prior to the end of the shift, the employee will be paid for hours worked and will record the remaining hours of the shift as administrative leave.

Non-exempt employees working as essential personnel or in response to a request by a unit administrator will be compensated by  administrative leave at straight time for the hours worked in addition to being paid for the hours worked. Any hours actually worked over 40 during the workweek are subject to overtime provisions. Exempt essential personnel will be paid their normal salaries. 

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 HR Consulting Services, (405) 744-2909.

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.


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