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Staff Box

Of Record

Emergency Closing

Under normal circumstances, the University of Pennsylvania never stops operating. The University recognizes that there are times, due to emergencies such as severe weather conditions, when classes may be canceled and/or schools/centers may be closed, except for those offices, such as but not limited to Public Safety, Dining Services, Facilities Management, which provide essential services. In an effort to insure the safety of faculty, staff and students, timely decisions to modify work schedules will be made.

Modifications of work schedules may take the form of either a partial or a full closing of the University's operations. In either situation, staff members working in positions which are designated as "essential" are expected to remain at work if the closing occurs during their regular work schedule, or to report to work if the closing announcement is made before their regular work schedule begins.


Communicating Modifications of Work Schedules

The University will announce a closing or other modification of work schedules through the following means:

  • the University's special information number: 898-MELT (6358);
  • through communications from the Division of Public Safety;
  • KYW News Radio (1060 AM), the City of Philadelphia's official storm emergency center; the University's emergency radio identification code numbers are "102" for day classes and schools/centers and "2102" for evening classes. The message that accompanies the code number will provide the operating status of the University.

Please note that radio and television stations other than KYW are not to be considered "official" sources of information.


Types of Work Schedule Modifications

Please note that decisions affecting work schedules and cancellation of classes are made by the Executive Vice President in consultation with the Provost. These decisions will be communicated through the channels listed above. Schools/centers may not deviate from the University decision without the prior approval of the Executive Vice President.

Full Closing: A full closing occurs when conditions warrant cancellation of classes and closing of schools/centers, except those providing essential services.

Partial Closing: A partial closing occurs when circumstances warrant the cancellation of classes while schools/centers remain open, or vice versa.

Delayed Opening: Occasionally, circumstances will warrant a delay in the opening time of schools/centers.

Close Before the End of the Normal Work Day: When there is a closing of schools/centers before the end of the work day, appropriate individuals will be contacted by the Division of Public Safety so that they may release staff members in their respective areas. Individual schools/centers should remain in operation until such an announcement is received.


Recording Absence due to Emergency Closing

The following practices should be followed by supervisors to record time lost when a staff member is absent due to emergency conditions:

1. If the University is closed after the start of the workday, staff members who reported to work are compensated and the time lost during the period of closing is considered time worked. For staff members who did not report to work their time should be charged to their paid time off balance [refer to the Paid Time Off Policy (PTO) effective 7/1/97]. If the staff member does not have any paid time off days available, the time lost should be considered time off without pay.

2. If the University is closed before the start of the scheduled work day, staff members are compensated for the entire scheduled work day and the time lost is considered administrative leave with pay. The time off should not be charged to their paid time off balances.

3. If the University is not closed, staff members who do not report to work will be charged paid time off, provided the absence is approved by the supervisor. If the staff member does not have any paid time off available, the staff member will not be compensated for that day. Sick leave may not be charged unless the staff member was out on sick leave before the emergency conditions arose.

4. If the University is not closed, and the staff member requests permission to be released before the end of his/her scheduled work day, the time lost should be charged to the staff member's paid time off balance. If the staff member does not have any paid time off available, the hours not worked should be considered without pay. If a closing announcement is made after the staff member's request to leave early was approved, the lost time should be recorded as time worked from the time of the announced closing.

5. If the University is not closed and a staff member arrives late due to emergency conditions affecting transportation, the supervisor may excuse the lateness and consider it as time worked. Late arrival beyond reason should be charged to staff members' paid time off balance.

Staff members who work in positions designated as "essential," and who work when the University is closed, will be paid at their regular rate of pay and will receive compensatory time equal to the time worked after the closing. Overtime compensation should be computed as normal.

Unionized Staff Members

University staff members in collective bargaining agreements should refer to the appropriate contract language.


- Division of Human Resources

Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, October 7, 1997, Volume 44, Number 7