This policy was a part of the former UPS Policy set that was integrated into the System Administrative Policy set. It applies to all University of Wisconsin institutions except for UW-Madison. For UW-Madison’s policies, please see the Human Resource Design Policies website.

Original Issuance Date:  July 1, 2015
Last Revision Date:

1. Policy Purpose

 The purpose of this policy is to establish authority for determining what extent university facilities should remain open or closed in the event of inclement weather or other emergency conditions.

2. Policy Background

 Chapter 230 of the Wisconsin Statutes contains specific information about instances in which institutions may be closed.  This operational policy provides University of Wisconsin System (UWS) institutions with inclement weather and emergency conditions policies that are similar to the policies set forth in Wis. Stat. § 230.35(5)(c) and Wisconsin Human Resources Handbook Chapter 736.

3. Policy Definitions

Please see SYS 1225, General Terms and Definitions, for a list of general terms and definitions.

Definitions specific to this policy:

Inclement weather means severe weather or other conditions that place the health and safety of students, employees or the public at risk.

Emergency conditions means infrastructure or other circumstances which are detrimental to the health and or safety of students, employees, or the public.

4. Policy

In accordance with Chapter 36, and delegated authority from the Board of Regents and the UW System President, a Chancellor has the authority to cancel classes, close all or part of the institution to the public, or completely close all or part of an institution to the public and employees.  While the decision rests with the chancellors, the effect of a complete institution closing on university makes it preferable to ensure that institutions remain open to all staff, if at all possible, even where cancellation of classes or public events is necessary.  When inclement weather or emergency conditions exist, every effort will be made to keep affected University of Wisconsin System (UWS) institutions open and operating as normal.  However, where the health and safety of students, employees or the public would be placed at risk, or conditions prevent the normal operation or services of UWS institutions, the nature and extent of any action to be taken will be determined by the appropriate administrator.  The Chancellor of each institution will implement the institution’s inclement weather/emergency conditions policy including the approval protocol for emergency closure of specific buildings if necessary.  The President of UW System will make the determination for UW System Administration offices.

When the institution is not closed, employees are expected to report to work unless an absence or other arrangement is approved by the employee’s supervisor.  Employees are expected to notify their supervisors if they cannot report to work or will report late.  Supervisors may require the employee to make up lost time if required for the operation of the work unit.

When the institution is closed, most employees will be directed to not report to work.  Employees at work when the institution is closed will be given the option of remaining at work or leaving their worksite, operational needs permitting.  This applies to all employees except employees whose continued presence is required.

Employees absent from work because of inclement weather or emergency conditions must use available vacation, accrued compensatory time, available holidays, or leave without pay to cover the absence, or they may arrange another work schedule with their supervisor.  Supervisors may require the employee to make up lost time during the same workweek of the absence if required for the operation of the work unit.  Employees who are not exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime pay provisions (i.e., those who must be paid overtime for hours worked over 40 in a workweek) must account for each hour of scheduled duty during the workweek.  FLSA exempt employees may account for their time in a manner consistent with their professional responsibilities, as approved by their supervisor.

Questions should be directed to the institution’s Human Resources staff.

5. Related Documents

Wis. Stat. § 20.901(1)(b), Departmental cooperation
Wis. Stat. § 20.922(2), Appointment of subordinates
SYS 1210, Vacation, Paid Leave Banks, and Vacation Cash Payouts
SYS 1211, Personal Holiday & Legal Holiday Administration
SYS 1227, Standard Office Hours, Legal Holidays and Other UW System Institution Closures
SYS 1253, FLSA Designation
SYS 1277, Compensation

6. Policy History

Wisconsin Human Resources Handbook Chapter 736