Spectrum Logo
A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Council Passes Authorized-Closing Revisions

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 12 - November 14, 1996

(Editor's note: The Commission on Classified Staff Affairs (CCSA) has drafted a revised policy on authorized closings at the university. The University Council has passed the resolution, and the resolution was scheduled to be presented to the Board of Visitors for consideration at this week's meeting. Following is a statement regarding the issue of authorized closings by Ann Spencer, associate vice president, personnel and administrative services.)

"Personnel Services, as well as the CCSA, has had concerns over the inconsistency in the application of the previous authorized-closing policy.

The major revision was to specify only a one-hour leeway for emergency employees during extreme weather conditions similar to what we have experienced periodically in the past few years.

We also added to the policy the procedures which have been distributed to all departments from Personnel Services each year, but were not included in the policy, regarding departmental communications to all emergency employees. This includes annual notification to existing employees, as well as procedures to ensure identification of emergency positions when recruiting."

Commission on Classified Staff Affairs

Resolution 1996-97A, Revision to the Policy on Authorized Closings

WHEREAS, concerns were expressed that our current policy does not provide adequate pre-hire notice to prospective employees regarding their emergency status; and,

WHEREAS, policy language created some inconsistency in the application of the provisions relating to requirements for emergency and non-emergency personnel to charge time not worked to appropriate leave type; and,

WHEREAS, procedures contained in the policy did not fully describe current practices for communication plans and departmental notifications of emergency personnel status.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the following policy-language changes be adopted:

(New language) Section 2.2 #2 Applicants, at the time of the interview, will be informed if the position is designated as emergency personnel. This information is documented on the Applicant Referral Memorandum which applicants are asked to read and sign. In addition, a paragraph informing the selected candidate of the emergency designation is included in the Sample Letters of Offer for wage and salaried positions.

(New language) Section 2.3 #2 b. Employees who do not report to work as scheduled must charge time missed to annual, sick, compensatory or overtime leave, or leave without pay as appropriate. However, supervisors may allow employees up to a maximum of one hour past the start of their normal shift to report to work during conditions of transportation difficulties.

(Existing language) Section 2.3 #2 b. EXCEPTION: When conditions create transportation difficulties that prevent emergency personnel from arriving at work on time, the department head may determine that the late arrival was justifiable in view of the conditions, and may not require the employee to charge lost time to leave balances.

(New language) Section 3.1 Communication Plan--Authorized Closing for Inclement Weather. On an annual basis, in the fall of the year, Personnel Services distributes a mailing to deans, directors and department heads instructing that they inform their emergency employees of their departmental communications plan and what is expected of them in an authorized closing situation. Also included is a fact sheet on authorized closings relating to emergency personnel with the Inclement Weather Hot Line and university operator telephone numbers and a blank roster sheet on which departments should list and post their emergency personnel.

Department heads should develop a communications plan for employees to follow in the event of emergency situations. In doing so, it is suggested that managers anticipate the needs of essential operations, especially those of employees with alternative work schedules (i.e., shift work and weekends), organize a telephone tree, and share detailed instructions to ensure adequate coverage and clear communications. This is particularly important when the identification of emergency employees is contingent upon the circumstances of the closing and are, thus subject to change.