University Policy 41
Leave During Adverse Weather Conditions

Formerly Executive Memorandum 90-96
Initially approved December 16, 1981
Revised October 1, 1985
Revised January 15, 1990
Revised: July 2001
Revised: October 2003
Administering Office: Human Resources


The Office of State Personnel has established certain guidelines for accounting for time or releasing employees from work when (25 NCAC 01E.1005):

  1. Adverse weather or other conditions of a serious nature prohibit some employees from reporting to work but do not necessitate the closing of state offices or facilities, or
  2. Emergency conditions necessitate the closing of university offices or curtailing of operations.


  1. Adverse weather and other conditions of a serious nature: Adverse weather or other conditions that may prohibit some employees from reporting to work but do not necessitate the closing of facilities or curtailing of operations.
  2. Emergency closing conditions: Conditions that necessitate the closing of the university or the curtailing of operations. Conditions that may be hazardous to life or safety and that may warrant closing of university offices include: catastrophic life threatening weather (snow, ice, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood or other natural disaster), fire, equipment failure, disruption of power and/or water, contamination by hazardous agents, terrorist acts or forced evacuations from the campus or work site.
  3. Emergency employees: Employees who are required to work during an emergency because their positions have been designated by the university as mandatory/essential to university operations during emergencies.


Because Western Carolina University is a residential university with more than 3,000 students in residence halls, the university does not, as a matter of general practice, close its operations or cancel classes in Cullowhee because of bad weather. Western Carolina University does conduct classes off the Cullowhee campus, in locations both in and out of the mountain region, and bad weather may affect those classes, particularly those which meet during evening hours. Commuting students, faculty and staff should exercise discretion and good judgment in deciding whether to attempt travel during hazardous conditions.

The following policies will apply to leave earning SPA and EPA personnel during a period of adverse weather conditions and/or emergency closings. The university is open unless a specific decision has been made by the appropriate official to close such offices and/or facilities because of emergency conditions.

1. The Chancellor will determine the operations on the campus that will remain fully operational and to what extent other operations may be temporarily limited or closed. Any closings shall be reported to the Vice President for Finance in the University of North Carolina Office of the President and the State Personnel Director within five days after the occurrence.

2. The Office of Public Information will be responsible for disseminating information concerning the status of the campus during a period of adverse weather conditions and/or emergency closing.

3. Policies and procedures for the operation or cancellation of classes in the event of adverse weather or emergency closings are contained in Section 5.00 Instructional Responsibilities of the Faculty in the Faculty Handbook. Questions should be directed to the Office for Academic Affairs.

4. Certain areas must be operational during adverse weather conditions and/or emergencies. These include the cafeterias, University Police, Health Services, Switchboard, Facilities Management, and Residential Living. The appropriate vice chancellor or designee will be responsible for notifying personnel who are required to be on duty. An emergency employee's failure to report to work can result in disciplinary action and/or requiring the hours missed to be charged to leave with or without pay, as appropriate. The Chancellor and Vice Chancellors may define other personnel in their respective areas as emergency employees depending on the situation. These employees will be contacted individually in such an event.

5. When an employee, who is not in a mandatory operation as noted above, chooses not to report to work or chooses to arrive late or leave early during adverse weather or other conditions of a serious nature, time lost will be:

  • charged to vacation leave,
  • charged to bonus leave,
  • charged to accrued compensatory time (only for SPA employees subject to overtime),
  • taken as leave without pay, or
  • made up in accordance with the provisions outlined below.

Employees who are on prearranged vacation or sick leave will charge leave to the appropriate account with no provision for make-up time.

6. Supervisors may permit employees to make up time not worked due to adverse weather conditions. The period for making up such time is limited to twelve months from the date work was missed; otherwise, personal leave or leave without pay must be taken. SPA employees who are not exempt from the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) may not make up time lost if the make-up results in the employee's exceeding a 40 hour workweek. In such cases, time lost due to adverse weather conditions (whether because of suspended operations or by election of the employee) must be charged to vacation and/or bonus leave. Time missed may be charged and made up in six-minute increments.

7. The following shall apply when the university is closed or operations are curtailed due to emergency conditions.

  • Employees who are not required to work at an alternate site or are not designated as an emergency employee shall not be required to charge leave or make up the time.
  • Emergency employees required to work during the emergency shall be granted paid time off on an hour for hour basis for all hours worked. This time must be used within 12 months of its being awarded. The university will make every effort to give employees the opportunity to take this time off. The time off should be used after compensatory time off (subject employees only), but must be used before vacation or sick leave.
  • If additional employees, not in mandatory/essential operations, are needed for situations such as cleanup and recovery during the time the university remains closed, the chancellor may elect to compensate them in the same manner as emergency employees.

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