Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Weather Emergencies and Utility Failure Policy

As a residential institution, Franklin & Marshall rarely ceases operations due to adverse weather conditions or utility failure. However, if severe weather conditions or utility failure make traveling to and from campus, or remaining on campus, unsafe, the College may modify normal work schedules for both professional staff and, on rare occasions, faculty. The procedures outlined in this policy will be followed in the event of changes to the normal operating schedule. As always, our primary consideration is the safety of our community members.

As a general rule, classes are held at the discretion of the professor in the event of severe weather. If students have questions about whether and where a class is meeting, it is their responsibility to contact the professor.

Responsibility for Delays or Closings Due to Extreme Weather or Utility Failure

The decision to excuse or dismiss employees from work due to extreme weather conditions or utility failure rests with the Vice President for Finance and Administration, in consultation with the Provost and the President. In the absence of the Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Provost shall assume this responsibility. Supervisors, department managers, and department chairs are not authorized to make such decisions.

It will be the responsibility of the Vice President for Finance and Administration (VPFA) or his/her designee to issue appropriate public announcements regarding delays, early dismissal, and/or closings. See curtailment procedures below.

Announcements

Announcements regarding a change to normal College hours of operation will be made as follows:

  • Weather Line:  A severe weather phone line provides up-to-date information about changes to normal hours of operation, including delays and closings. The number to call is (717) 291-4003. The Office of College Communications will make every attempt to record an updated announcement by 6 a.m. when a decision has been made to delay opening or to close the College. The Office of Communications will manage ongoing updates about operations as the weather situation evolves.
  • Franklin & Marshall Website: Announcements regarding delays and cancellations will also be posted at www.fandm.edu.
  • Email and Text Alerts:    Email and text alerts will be sent to community members who are registered to receive emergency alerts from the college.  Faculty, Staff, and Students are automatically registered to receive emergency alerts from the College by providing their cell phone number within inside.fandm.edu under the MyInfo tab. All others interested in receiving such alerts are encouraged to register at www.getrave.com.
  • Local Media:  Local media outlets will carry information regarding Franklin & Marshall’s status of operations in the event of a weather emergency or utility failure.

Curtailment Procedures

  1. The Vice President for Finance and Administration (VPFA) will confer with Vice Presidents, President, Provost, Chair of Faculty Council, Associate Vice President (AVP) for Facilities and Operations (F&O), Director of the Department of Public Safety (DPS), AVP for Administration and others the evening before an expected severe weather event to discuss the possibility of inclement weather the following day.

  2. The VPFA, Provost, Chair of the Faculty Council and AVP for F&O will confer via phone no later than 6 a.m. the day of the inclement weather to determine the timing and severity of the weather and the College's ability to keep the campus safe while considering the campus schedule. This group will make the decision regarding curtailment.

  3. If curtailment is determined to be the course of action, the VPFA immediately contacts the Director of DPS, Vice President for Communications, Dean of the College, Provost, Chief of Staff and President regarding the decision. (See below for options and messaging.)

  4. DPS will issue the initial message with details about the curtailment through text and email via the College's RAVE emergency alert system. The Office of Communications will update the Website, Weather Line and contact local media outlets. The Provost will communicate to faculty with additional details regarding classes and the Library. The Dean of the College will communicate to students regarding classes, dining facilities, athletic facilities and the library. (See below for options and messaging.)

Individual Safety Precautions

Severe Weather-- The College does not expect faculty and professional staff to take unnecessary risks to report to campus or to remain on campus during severe weather. If a professional staff member decides to leave work early or not report to work because of adverse weather conditions and his/her own commute, and the College has not issued a closing, late opening, or early dismissal notice, the staff member will be expected to use an earned vacation day, a personal day, or request time off without pay. Alternatively, arrangements can be made with an employee’s supervisor for an employee to work from home.
 

Utility Failure-- If an individual deems his/her work area to be unsafe during a utility failure, the employee may leave the work area after notifying his/her supervisor (unless it is not practical to notify the supervisor in advance, due to safety concerns), or may be assigned to a different work area if appropriate. If a professional staff member decides to leave work early or not to report to work because of utility failure, and the College has not issued a closing, late opening, or early dismissal, the staff member will be expected to use an earned vacation day, personal day, or request time off without pay.

Types of Curtailment and Messaging

1.  Campus remains open – no delays or cancellations. Typically this decision will be made when it is deemed that College community members can reasonably expect to safely commute to and from campus and safely navigate walkways and stairways on campus. Typically no message will be sent to College community members if this decision is made.

2.  Administrative offices closed, faculty hold classes at their discretion. This decision will be made when the weather or utility situation is significant enough to undermine safety for road travel and travel between buildings. Faculty members should contact students regarding their individual class status but err on the side of safety if there is any doubt about faculty being able to safely navigate roads and pathways. The College recognizes that weather conditions may differ substantially in the areas from which faculty commute; therefore, we trust faculty to make the appropriate decisions with respect to travel to the college under weather emergencies. 

No member of the faculty should feel compelled or pressured into holding classes when conditions on the roads they must travel are, in their judgment, unsafe.  Alternate measures, such as online communications and advance assignments, to continue class progress are also encouraged.   If the situation worsens during the day, the College may decide to move to #3 below.   Every effort will be made to make this decision well in advance of the change so as to allow safe travel and planning by faculty, staff and students.  We do not expect to employ changes in daily decisions except in very rare instances.

Dining facilities will remain open, and every attempt will be made to keep the Alumni Sports and Fitness Center (ASFC), Mayser Gymnasium and the libraries open if deemed safe. Curtailment could be for a full day or partial day. All essential personnel should report to campus (see below regarding the classification of "essential personnel").In this category of curtailment, the College's announcement will assert, “Franklin & Marshall administrative offices will be closed for [insert the time period].  Faculty are holding classes at their discretion. Dining facilities will operate on their normal schedules and [insert list of facilities that will be open with hours]. Please check the F&M website for the latest updates.”

3.  Administrative offices closed, all classes are canceled. This decision will be made when the most severe weather situations or utility failure occur, such as a major ice storm, significant snow storm, hurricane, tornado, etc. This option will rarely be used, but, if it is, only “essential” personnel are to report to campus (see definition below). Other community members are strongly discouraged from being on campus, because those who report to campus during severe weather events may put themselves and others at risk for injury, given that Facilities and Operations and DPS must prioritize clearing main sidewalks and roads, addressing fallen or damaged trees, assessing power sources, and other immediate safety precautions. In addition, during severe weather events, parking may not be available. When classes are canceled for safety reasons, faculty members are encouraged to employ alternate measures to continue class progress through online communications and advance assignments. Dining facilities will remain open. Curtailment could be for a full day or partial day.

In this category of curtailment, the College's announcement will assert, “Franklin & Marshall is closed for [insert the time period]. All classes are canceled. Dining facilities will operate on their normal schedules. Please check the F&M website for the latest updates.”
 

Designated “Essential” and “Critical” Personnel

During a weather or utility emergency, only operations directly involved with maintaining the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff are considered “essential” for the purposes of reporting to campus. These essential support operations are Facilities and Operations, Appel Health Services, and Public Safety. However, there may be additional members of the professional staff who are considered “critical” in terms of providing essential services to the campus during a weather emergency or utility failure. These individuals may be required to perform work functions – on or off campus – during a curtailment.

It is the responsibility of the department manager, in consultation with the appropriate Senior Officer, to designate essential and critical personnel in his/her area who are required to report to work during a weather emergency or utility failure. It is also the responsibility of the department manager to notify essential and critical staff members of their responsibilities during an emergency, and to assign essential work tasks.

Compensation Policy for Professional Staff

When a decision is made to delay the start of the work day or dismiss before the normal close of the work day, full-time and part-time members of the professional staff who have reported to work will be paid for their regularly scheduled number of work hours for that day, at their regular base rate of pay, regardless of time lost.

If administrative offices close for the full day, full-time professional staff will receive their regular base pay for the day. Part-time employees who were actually scheduled to work that day will receive pay for the number of hours they were scheduled to work.

Non-exempt members of the professional staff should record the hours they were scheduled for but missed as College Closure-Weather or College Closure-Utility as applicable on their timesheets.  Absences due to a weather emergency or utility failure will count as up to a maximum of 7 or 8 work hours per day (based on the staff member's regular number of scheduled work hours per day), solely for purposes of determining total "work hours” for the week and whether an individual is eligible for an overtime premium.  Non-exempt members of the professional staff should record the hours they were scheduled for but missed as College Closure-Weather or College Closure-Utility as applicable on their timesheets.

Employees who have requested to use a sick day prior to announcement of a closing or delayed opening will be charged for the sick day. As noted under "Individual Safety Precautions," if a staff member decides not to report to work when the College has not closed offices, the staff member may use an earned vacation day, a personal day, or take time off without pay.

Compensation for Essential and Critical Personnel / Weather Emergency-- Non-exempt staff members (those who complete timesheets) designated as "essential" or “critical” by their department manager and/or Senior Officer, and who are required to report to work or to remain at work during extreme weather conditions, will receive a total of two (2) times their normal hourly rate of pay for each hour worked during the weather emergency, until the emergency is declared over by the Vice President for Finance and Administration (i.e., the weather pay premium is equal to one hour of pay).  Those who report for work and remain in a working status until excused will be eligible for this additional pay. Other staff members who are directed by a manager or choose to arrive and/or remain on campus when administrative offices are closed (and are safely able to do so) will receive their normal rate of pay for the day.
 

Non-exempt employees in Public Safety and Facilities and Operations who are required to work the shift immediately prior to the shift on which there is a delayed opening of College offices, will receive a weather pay premium equal to their normal hourly rate of pay for the same number of hours as those essential Public Safety Officers on the shift on which the weather emergency is declared receive.

Examples:

If an employee designated as essential earns $12 per hour and normally begins work at 7:30 a.m., and the College announces at 6:00 a.m. that Franklin & Marshall offices will not open until 10:30 a.m. due to poor weather conditions, this employee will be paid as follows:

  • If he/she begins working at 7:30 a.m., while College offices are closed due to poor weather, he/she will be paid a total of 2 times his or her normal hourly rate — a total of $24 — for each hour worked between 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. (3 hours). From 10:30 a.m. until the employee leaves work, he/she will receive the normal rate of $12 per hour.
  • If this employee is asked to begin working at 5:00 a.m. due to poor weather conditions (i.e., for snow removal), he/she will receive a total of 2 times the normal hourly rate ($24 per hour) from 5 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. From 10:30 a.m. until he/she leaves work, this employee will receive his/her normal hourly rate of $12.
  • If College offices close for the entire day due to poor weather conditions, and this employee is required to work from 5 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., he/she will receive 2 times the normal hourly rate (a total of $24 per hour) between 5 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
  • In addition, if this employee works more than 40 hours during the work week, normal overtime payment procedures will apply (i.e., the employee will receive a total of 1.5 times his/her regular hourly rate of pay for each hour worked over 40 during the week). See below for details.

Non exempt members of the professional staff should record the hours they were scheduled for but missed as College Closure-Weather or College Closure-Utility as applicable on their timesheets.

Compensation for Essential and Critical Personnel / Utility Failure-- Non-exempt staff designated as essential or critical by their department manager and/or Senior Officer, and who must remain at work during a utility failure, will be compensated at their regular base rate of pay for hours worked during their customary shift, and at 1.5 times their regular base rate of pay for hours worked beyond the customary shift (a premium of .5 the normal hourly rate will be paid for hours worked beyond the regular shift).

During a utility failure, essential personnel should record their actual working hours as usual on their timesheets, and "utility failure" should be noted on timesheets.

Overtime Hours-- Per standard College policies, if a non-exempt employee works more than 40 hours during one work week, he/she will receive an overtime premium for all hours worked over 40 during the week (hours 41 and over). Pay for hours 41 and over during one work week equals a total of 1.5 times the employee's regular hourly rate.

During a weather emergency or utility failure, the total number of hours actually worked by essential personnel, plus any paid absences during the emergency (up to a maximum of 7 or 8 hours per day, depending on an individual’s normal number of scheduled daily hours) are counted as “work hours” for purposes of determining whether a non-exempt staff member worked over 40 hours during one week.

It’s important to the College that a weather closure has minimal financial impact on employees, yet still allows for work productivity.  Therefore, managers are encouraged to explore options including proactively identifying appropriate projects that allow their direct reports to work from home or from a safe place.  As much as is reasonable/ possible, employees are expected to use paid College Closure time for tasks as assigned by their managers.


Policy Maintained by: Human Resources, Director

Last Reviewed: November 23, 2014