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Authorized Closing Policy Clarifications

By Linda Woodard, director,

Personnel Services

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 20 - February 12, 1998

The university's "Guidelines on Authorized Closings (4305)" provides the procedures for administering the state's Authorized Closing Policy (No. 1.35). This policy addresses the authority of an agency to close and the specific requirements for leave use for covered employees. Each department should have a communications plan to address an authorized closing. They should also plan how the department will continue to provide coverage when the university remains open during inclement weather.


1. The state policy is very specific in its requirement that non-emergency employees must work some part of the day during a partial closing to claim inclement weather leave for the portion of their shift covered by an authorized closing. The only exception is when the employee is on "pre-approved leave," which is defined in state policy as leave requested by the employee and approved by management PRIOR to the day it is taken. PLEASE NOTE THAT MANAGERS MAY WORK WITH EMPLOYEES IN ADVANCE TO APPROVE LEAVE IF THEY EXPECT THAT THEY MAY HAVE DIFFICULTIES REPORTING TO WORK THE NEXT DAY.
2. Many employees and their supervisors have expressed concern about the difficulties they have experienced, including uncleared roads, power outages, and loss of daycare. It is not intended that employees endanger their lives or families to commute to and from work when they determine that it is not safe to do so. Personal-leave balances (annual or compensatory) have been provided for employees to use when then need to make such decisions.
3. Managers may allow employees to leave their shifts early; however, employees must charge the time to the appropriate type of leave. Because of differing needs, some colleges, administrative areas, or departments may have more flexibility to accommodate employees' requests.
4. With a noon re-opening time, employees whose regular lunch break is noon to 1 p.m. would normally not be expected to report to work until 1 p.m.

1. Emergency personnel are identified by their departments and are considered necessary to the maintenance of the vital operations and services of Virginia Tech. Emergency personnel are required to work during periods of authorized closings. The work schedule for emergency employees may be changed on short notice by the department to address the emergency situation.
2. If an emergency employee is on PRE-APPROVED LEAVE with pay during an authorized closing, the employee may claim inclement-weather leave for the portion of their normal shift covered by the closing. However, if the department has designated that employee as being "on-call" even though they are on approved leave, they are expected to report to work in accordance with their department's communications plan and instructions. Those on-call employees who do not report to work must use applicable leave for the entire period.
3. Depending upon job assignments and tasks, any employee may be designated as emergency personnel due to their project or work priorities at the time. This change in status will normally be made by the appropriate vice-president, dean, or department head.
4. Any emergency 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.
For more information, call Linda Quesenberry at 1-7180.