News & Events

As we approach the increasing potential for severe winter weather conditions in our region, this communication serves as an update and guidance on current adverse weather policy and procedures.

You may have heard that the State Human Resources Commission approved a new university-specific Adverse Weather and Emergency Events policy at its December 2015 meeting. This new policy, which is not yet published on the Office of State Human Resources (OSHR) website, does not materially change adverse weather procedures from last year but does codify what we feel are several incremental improvements over previous policies. Specifically, the new policy: 

  • Combines adverse weather and emergency closings back into a single policy for greater clarity and integration;
  • Authorizes the UNC President and campus Chancellors, as the President’s designees, to make decisions regarding changes in campus operational status as a result of adverse weather or emergency events; and
  • No longer limits activation of the policy to times when we are under active severe weather warnings issued by the National Weather Service, giving us greater discretion to apply the policy based on our assessment of actual weather and travel conditions in and around our community. 

The new policy leaves intact from previous policy:

  • Definitions of “Mandatory Operations” and “Mandatory Employees” and
  • Three potential levels of policy activation and applications of employee leave, depending upon severity of conditions and what is determined necessary to ensure the safety of all students, staff, faculty and visitors:
  1. Condition 1 (Reduced Operations): The institution remains largely open but may have some reduced operations due to limited staffing. Non-mandatory employees must use their discretion in determining their safety to report to or remain at work. Adverse weather leave options apply to employee absences.
  2. Condition 2 (Suspended Operations): The institution remains open on a limited basis and has suspended all but mandatory operations. Non-mandatory employees must not report to or remain at work. Adverse weather leave options apply to employee absences.
  3. Condition 3 (Closure): Due to severe conditions, the institution is closed for business. Non-mandatory employees must not report to or remain at work. Emergency leave conditions apply to employee absences.

We will work as quickly as possible to amend relevant campus policies to fully align with all provisions of the new policy. In the meantime, we will operate under the guidance below.

If you have questions regarding any guidance we have posted, please contact the Office of Human Resources at 828-262-3187.

 

Adverse Weather Procedures

Our primary concern always is for the safety and security of ASU students, staff, faculty and visitors. Everyone is encouraged to exercise good personal judgment and caution appropriate to the weather conditions at all times.

  1. The ASU Department of Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management is responsible for monitoring weather conditions and to inform the Chancellor of potential adverse weather conditions.
  2. The ASU Community will be advised of adverse weather conditions and all applications of the Adverse Weather Policy.
    1. University Communications has primary responsible for communications regarding most adverse weather conditions and applications of the Adverse Weather Policy.
    2. Adverse weather-related communications will be made via university email, Twitter at @appstateclosing, the University homepage, recorded messages at 828-262-SNOW and, if appropriate, through media such as WASU and Booneweather.com.
    3. Based on the severity of conditions and/or immediate danger to our campus, the Department of Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management may also issue alerts through the emergency notification system, the University Website and/or social media.
  3. For adverse weather purposes, “mandatory operations” includes the following services, which will remain open during adverse weather events:
    1. Physical Plant
    2. New River Light & Power
    3. Food Services
    4. Housing & Residence Life
    5. University Police
    6. Telecommunications
    7. Student Health Services
    8. Information Technology
    9. Parking & Traffic
    10. Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management
    11. University Communications
    12. Plemmons Student Union
    13. Student Recreational Center

Employees who perform these functions are considered “mandatory employees.”

4.  When weather conditions have significant potential to or are already negatively impacting local area commuting, important campus services, or the efficient functioning of campus buildings and grounds, the campus community will be notified of the weather conditions and Condition 1 activation of the Adverse Weather Policy. Upon such notification:

    1. Mandatory employees are expected to report to and/or remain at work.
    2. Non-mandatory employees are expected to make a good faith effort to report to and/or remain at work but are encouraged to exercise their best judgment and appropriate caution when making travel decisions.
    3. Adverse weather leave options described below apply to time missed by non-mandatory employees due to the adverse conditions.

5.  When safety risks or logistical challenges are more severe and there is a substantial interest in having a relatively limited number of individuals travel to or remain at the university and/or an impact on staffing levels necessary to maintain non-mandatory services, the Chancellor may suspend non-mandatory services. Upon communication of the suspension of non-mandatory services (Condition 2): 

    1. Mandatory employees are expected to report to and/or remain at work.
    2. Non-mandatory employees should not report to or remain at work.
    3. Non-mandatory employees may perform work from home if productive work that can be performed remotely is available and upon approval of their supervisors.
    4. Adverse weather leave options described below apply to time missed by non-mandatory employees due to the adverse conditions. 

6.  To ensure continuity of mandatory operations, mandatory employees are expected to report to and/or remain at work during adverse weather conditions.

    1. When severe weather conditions cause mandatory employees to arrive late for scheduled work shifts, the employees must communicate with their direct supervisors regarding their delay and expected arrival time. Under these conditions, employees should be allowed to make up the lost work time or apply available compensatory time, vacation leave or bonus leave.
    2. Departments responsible for mandatory operations should have internal procedures to ensure continuity of operations, including procedures to maintain staffing levels necessary for continuity of operations during adverse weather events.

7.  Adverse weather leave options: The following conditions apply to time missed by non-mandatory employees due to adverse weather events, including suspensions of non-mandatory services (Conditions 1 and 2). These options apply to all leave-earning employees:

    1. Any accrued compensatory time must be applied to the adverse weather absences.
    2. Employees with no accrued compensatory time may elect to:
      1. Use available vacation leave,
      2. Use available bonus leave, or
      3. Request approval to take leave without pay.
    3. Employees may also be allowed to make up time lost due to adverse weather, with approval of their supervisors and where operational/business needs permit.
      1. Make-up time may only be approved in lieu of vacation leave, bonus leave or leave without pay. If employees have accrued compensatory time, it must be used before requesting make-up time.
      2. Supervisors are responsible to work with employees to schedule make-up time.
      3. It is preferable for make-up time to be scheduled as quickly as possible and within the same pay period as the adverse weather event where possible.
      4. All time lost due to adverse weather must be made up within 90 days of the adverse weather event.
      5. Time not made up within 90 days will be charged to available vacation leave or bonus leave or withheld from the employee’s paycheck.
      6. Time may be made up in workweeks that result in overtime but only if there is a bona-fide operational need to schedule overtime work and only upon approval of the supervisor.
      7. Make-up time should be coded on timesheets at MSW when approved and AWW when made up.

 

Emergency Closing Procedures

  1. When weather or other events pose the most severe risks to health and safety or present the most difficult logistical challenges that will severely impede the efficient and effective functioning of the university, the Chancellor may declare an emergency closure of all or specific locations on the University campus (Condition 3).
  2. Nothing in the new State Emergency Closing Policy preempts our campus Emergency Management Plans, which govern communication and management of emergency conditions, including any necessary emergency closures and evacuations. For information about ASU emergency management plans, see http://em.emergency.appstate.edu/.
  3. Upon notification of emergency conditions affecting any ASU facility or operations:
    1. Employees required to evacuate a location or worksite may be relocated to a safe work location, may be allowed to work from home, where applicable, or will be provided with paid time off for work time missed.
    2. Employees who are required to work during an emergency will be granted “emergency time off” (ETO) on an hour- for-hour basis for all hours worked.
    3. ETO time:
      1. Must be used within 12 months;
      2. Should be taken after accrued compensatory time but must be taken before vacation leave, bonus leave or sick leave; and
      3. Has no cash value, is not paid out upon separation from employment and is not transferable to another state agency or employee.

 

Winter Break Closure Update

Last year, we implemented an annual winter break closure for the purpose of reducing our campus fuel consumption and supporting our strong commitment to sustainability.  In our first year, the closure resulted in $526,880 in energy cost avoidance for our campus.

This year, our winter break closure will begin on Thursday, December 24 and the University will re-open onMonday, January 4, 2016.  Two weekdays during the closure, December 30 and 31, are not university holidays and employees must either apply accrued leave or perform alternate work to be compensated for those days.  To maximize energy and cost savings, we must work to limit on-campus activity during the closure period to essential operations, to the extent possible.  At the same time, we are committed to minimizing the impact on employees who may not have sufficient vacation or bonus leave to cover the two non-holiday closure days, or those who may prefer to conserve their available leave for other purposes.  The remainder of this communication provides guidance on three options available to help employees manage the non-holiday closure days – community service, telecommuting and professional development.

Community Service Leave

As we did last year, we encourage employees to consider utilizing community service leave as a way to manage the winter break closure and also support our community.  To facilitate this, the ASU Staff Senate has again done outstanding work to identify a list of community organizations which have indicated that they can support volunteers during the winter break period.  A flier detailing these volunteer opportunities can be found on the Staff Senate website at:

http://staffsenate.appstate.edu/sites/staffsenate.appstate.edu/files/Winter%20Break%20Closure%202015-2016.pdf

Telecommuting

Where productive work that can be performed remotely is available, employees may seek approval of their supervisors to work from home to offset non-holiday closure hours.  To utilize this option:

  • The supervisor and employee must agree on the work to be performed and it must be documented.
  • Work to be completed must be measurable and completion must be verified by the supervisor.
  • Hours spent performing work must be documented by the employee and provided to the supervisor for approval.
  • Any university work materials (hard copy or electronic) that would be removed from campus must be documented with the supervisor and their return must be documented.

Anyone needing assistance accessing university computer systems remotely should contact IT Support Services (http://support.appstate.edu/contact).

Professional Development Opportunities (Lynda.com)

Lynda.com is a web-based archive of professional development videos.  It is a service to which Appalachian State University ITS subscribes, offering over 4,093 courses and 161,950 individual videos.  It is an exceptional professional development resource to help employees advance their knowledge and skills in areas ranging from technology and computer software to business, personal and professional skills.  The winter break closure provides employees with an excellent opportunity to engage in some of these learning opportunities, to offset non-holiday closure hours.  To utilize this option:

  • Employees must obtain approval from their supervisors.
  • Employees must work with their supervisors to identify offerings appropriate to their work, professional and personal development goals.
  • Employees and supervisors must agree upon and document offerings to be completed.
  • Completion of offerings must be documented by printing the Certificate of Completion at the end of each video.  If the employee does not have printing capabilities, completion can be documented through ITS system tracking upon return to work after the holiday break.  For this confirmation, please contact Kevin Snook in ITS at: snookkd@appstate.edu.
  • Hours spent engaged in these professional development opportunities must be tracked by employees and submitted to their supervisors for approval.

Lynda.com offerings can be accessed at www.lynda.com.  From that site, click "log in" and choose the "log in through your organization or school" option.  This will redirect you to the ASU Shibboleth sign-in page where you will enter your ASU ID and password.  You will then be directed back to Lynda.com where you can browse and view offerings.  The first time you log in through the Lynda.com site, you may be prompted to enter your organization’s URL.  If you are, enter appstate.edu in the box provided.

Employees who do not have internet access at home may be able to check out an iPad with the Lynda.comapplication already installed from either the ITS Walk-In Services office in Anne Belk Hall or the Library.  Employees can download videos directly to the iPad so they can be completed later offline.  Available iPads may be checked out on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Anyone needing assistance in identifying a targeted selection of Lynda.com offerings is encouraged to contact Emily Wilson in Human Resources at 262-6486. 

Anyone with additional questions about the winter break closure or needing further assistance is encouraged to contact Human Resources at 262-3187.

Welcome to the Office of Human Resources

Our Location:

Human Resources Building

330 University Hall Drive

ASU Post Office Box 32010

Boone, North Carolina 28608

828-262-3187 (Main Phone Line)

828-262-3186 (Phone Directory)

Our Purpose:

The Office of Human Resources is an area of Appalachian State University that functions under the direct supervision of the Chancellor. The Department is responsible for:

  • Administration of HR policies and procedures,
  • Employment Services,
  • Classification and Compensation,
  • Benefit Administration, and
  • Organizational Development and Workforce Planning.

Our office is open to the public 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. We are here to serve all of your Employment needs and are willing to help in any way that we can. Please feel free to stop by or call our office to discuss any questions, comments, or concerns that you may have. 

Mission:

The Office of Human Resources at Appalachian State University is dedicated to proactively identifying and responding to the campus community's ever-changing needs. From the facilitation of greater effectiveness through the merit-based recruitment and selection of top employees, to the administration of policies and procedures that support our faculty and staff, HR is committed to the goals and objectives of Appalachian State University. We strive to create a workplace environment that values integrity, diversity and development, responds to and balances the needs of our employees with the needs of the campus community, by upholding all state and federal laws that govern the work we do.

Vision:

HR will strive to improve the lives of the people we serve by facilitating innovative development initiatives; providing factually accurate and timely information; and holding ourselves to the highest standard in policy and practice. We will carry on with our commitment to continuous improvement and customer service, continuing in the Appalachian tradition of attracting, developing, and retaining a dedicated, active, and innovative faculty and staff. HR will be the model strategic business partner for all areas of campus and aligning peoples strategies with the business goals.

 


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