Inclement Weather: Employee Emergency Event Status

As a community, when we have an emergency we need to make informed decisions that maintain critical operations while keeping our colleagues and students safe.

To that end, the University has created an “emergency event status” designation for employees to clarify who should come to work and who should stay home. Specifically, in 2010 we moved from “essential/non-essential” to “designated/non-designated” for both the Health System and the Academic Division. The designation helps us respond more effectively during inclement weather and other emergencies, and helps employees better understand what is expected of them in emergency situations.

The event status is visible to employees in Employee Self-Service in the Integrated System, the same place you check your payslip or submit your timesheet, under “My Information”. Managers can change designations in Manager Self-Service, or ask an HRMS specialist to do it. Medical Center employees can refer to Policy 510 regarding their designation.

This is a group effort, and we need your help to make smart choices. This may mean a change from past practices. For example, sometimes we are more helpful NOT coming in to work, particularly during a weather event. We encourage managers to keep designated employees to the absolute minimum necessary to allow first responders to focus on high priority locations. We are asking designated employees who do come in to alter habits, such as using parking garages rather than parking lots, so lots can be cleared without obstruction.

In the event of an emergency, we will encourage non-designated employees to stay home, in order to give first responders the “right of the road”. We are asking non-designated employees to telecommute where possible, in order to allocate power and other resources from low-use buildings to buildings that perhaps house patients, or animals, or fragile experiments.

Of course, the very nature of emergencies means they cannot be predicted completely. Still, with flexibility, common sense, and good communication, we can position ourselves to handle emergencies with a minimum of confusion and wasted effort.

In all cases, check with your manager, consult with the person who handles HR issues in your area, and use common sense. In addition, you may find the links below helpful.