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FAQs for UB Employees

In extreme weather and other severe conditions that cause a change to UB's regularly scheduled operations:

  • Members of the campus community are expected to use their best judgment in assessing the risk of coming to campus and returning home based on individual circumstances during severe weather.
  • If classes and activities are cancelled, non-essential employees are advised to stay off campus, and all employees are encouraged to exercise extreme caution if travel is necessary.

Here are some common questions employees ask in these circumstances:

How does UB make the decision to cancel classes in the event of inclement weather?

The decision to cancel classes is based on numerous factors and the input of an advisory group made up of officials from across the university responsible for student life and safety, academic scheduling, emergency management, athletics, human resources, facilities operations and campus infrastructure. The group discusses current weather conditions and forecasts throughout the region, the conditions of roads both on and off campus, and scheduled academic and extracurricular activities.

How does the university inform the campus community about these decisions?

UB uses a variety of communication channels, including UB Alert, UB websites, social media channels and local television and radio stations, to inform faculty, staff and students if classes and other activities are cancelled due to severe weather. UB Alert, the key element of the university’s crisis communication plan, sends emergency messages to everyone who has a “buffalo.edu” email address, as well as text messages to the cellphones of those who have signed up to receive them.

If I stay home during a storm, do I need to take vacation time?

Typically, employees who do not report to work during a storm must take vacation time or otherwise charge their absence to appropriate leave accruals, even when the university cancels classes and activities.

This is because only the governor can officially declare that UB is closed and authorize employees to remain away from work without charge to leave accruals.

If the governor declares the university closed, employees who are not considered essential during severe weather events do not need to take vacation time for those declared days. Essential employees who were unable to come to work must still use accruals.

In general, who should report to work in a storm?

During severe weather, members of the campus community are expected to use their best judgment in assessing the risk of coming to campus and returning home based on individual circumstances.

When UB cancels classes and activities due to extreme conditions, the university may send out a notice indicating that only employees who provide essential services are to report to work (see next question for information on who is considered an essential employee). Such a notice will come via the UB Alert system.

Who is an essential employee who should report to work?

In spite of severe conditions, services related to the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and guests must continue. The same is true of facility maintenance and security.

Supervisors determine, based on the nature of the event, which employees are essential.

Employees who provide essential services should be identified and notified to ensure that they understand who must remain at or report to work in the event of a change in operations.

In severe conditions, notification will be sent via the UB Alert system if employees providing essential services should report to work.

Why do non-essential employees need to charge their leave to accruals when UB cancels classes during a storm?

Only the governor can officially declare that UB is closed and authorize employees to remain away from work without charge to leave accruals.

Therefore, according to state policy, employee absences resulting from a change in scheduled operations — including class cancellations, early departures and closings — must be charged to appropriate leave accruals if the governor has not declared the university closed.

What if I do not have enough leave time accrued to cover my absence during severe conditions?

Anyone who does not have sufficient leave accruals may borrow from future accruals.

What if I am at work when the university cancels classes and activities?

Anyone who reports to work will not be deprived of the opportunity to work.

There is no guarantee that employees who arrive at the campus or those who stay after a change in scheduled operations announcement will be able to work at their usual work places.

Adequate supervision may not be available or the building in which the individual usually works may not be open.

Provision should be made for alternate campus work locations and alternate work for those who do get to campus but who cannot go to their regular work places or cannot perform their regular work assignments.

If it is determined during the course of a workday that the university cannot operate effectively, employees are not required to leave at that moment; employees may leave then or any time thereafter. Only the time that an employee is absent is charged to leave accruals.

What are my obligations as a faculty member to my students?

Students should notify their instructors or supervisors if they cannot safely get to classes or work.

Students will not be penalized if they cannot make it to class or work due to severe weather conditions.

Faculty will provide reasonable accommodations for students who miss classes due to a storm.

Faculty unable to travel to campus are responsible for making alternate arrangements with their students.

Please see http://undergrad-catalog.buffalo.edu/policies/course/attendance.shtml