News & Events

Adverse Weather and Emergency Closing Updates

January 22, 2015

At its December 2014 meeting, the State Human Resources Commission approved amendments to the State's Adverse Weather and Emergency Closing Policy, effective January 1, 2015. The previous policy was repealed and replaced with separate policies for adverse weather and emergency closing events. The new policies better clarify the distinction between the two types of events and are intended to promote more consistent application of policy across state agencies.

These changes in state policy require us to review and amend relevant ASU policies, which we are working to complete as quickly as possible. However, given our risk of experiencing winter weather events, we feel it necessary to provide interim guidance on the new policies and their application at ASU.

Below, you will find links to the new state policies and related information from the Office of State Human Resources (OSHR), along with interim guidance and procedures for our campus.

As always, if you have any questions regarding these new policies or any guidance we have posted, please contact the Office of Human Resources at 828-262-3187.

OSHR Policy Notice

OSHR Adverse Weather Policy

OSHR Emergency Closings Policy

Frequently Asked Questions

Adverse Weather and Emergency Closing Webinar

OSHR Summary of Full Policy Changes 

Interim ASU Guidance and Procedures

In the event that we experience adverse weather and/or emergency conditions before we are able to complete and communicate updates to relevant ASU policy, OSHR policies and the interim procedures described below will apply.

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 conditions at all times.

Key Policy Clarifications and Changes

The new State Adverse Weather and Emergency Closing Policies contain a number of clarifications and changes that are particularly important to note:

Adverse Weather Policy

  1. Ties application of the policy to severe weather warnings issued by the National Weather Service, defining adverse weather conditions as existing "when the National Weather Service issues severe weather warnings for weather conditions that may adversely impact an employee's commute to and from work or may adversely impact the State's ability to continue to provide non-mandatory operations to clients, customers, patients, students or the general public."
  2. Distinguishes adverse weather "mandatory" and "non-mandatory" operations and employees, and requires that we clarify these distinctions for our campus.
  3. Clarifies that State agency/university officials may elect to "suspend non-mandatory operations" due to adverse weather conditions, based on consideration of severe weather warnings, public safety and health and/or staffing challenges that may result from travel conditions.
  4. Requires that we maintain procedures for notifying employees when adverse weather conditions are in effect and expectations for remaining at work, reporting to work and accounting for lost time from work.
  5. Clarifies options available for employees to account for work time missed due to adverse weather events.
  6. Shortens the time allowed for employees to make up time lost due to adverse weather events from one year to 90 days.
  7. Allows make-up time to be scheduled during a workweek where the time would result in overtime, with supervisor approval and where there is a bona-fide operational need to schedule overtime work.

Emergency Closing Policy

  1. Defines "Emergency Closing Conditions" as conditions determined to be "hazardous to life or safety of both the general public as well as employees at a specific location or work site" and that require evacuation of the location or site.
  2. Clarifies that, with the exception of catastrophic life threatening weather conditions, adverse weather conditions typically do not result in emergency closings.
  3. Clarifies that "the State of North Carolina does not close due to winter storms (snow and ice) that impact travel conditions (accumulation of ice/snow on roads, parking lots, and sidewalks)."
  4. Clarifies that employees required to evacuate a location or worksite due to emergency conditions may be relocated to a safe work location, allowed to work from home where applicable, or will be provided with paid time off for work time missed.
  5. Recognizes that emergency conditions may vary and defers to agency/university emergency response plans to determine the operations and employees necessary for response to specific emergency conditions.
  6. Clarifies that employees who are required to work during an emergency will be granted "emergency time off" on an hour-for-hour basis for all hours worked.

Adverse Weather Interim Procedures

  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 or Campus Police may also issue alerts through the emergency notification system, the University Website and social media.
  3. For adverse weather purposes, "mandatory operations" includes the following services, which will remain in open during adverse weather events:
    1. Physical PlantNew
    2. River Light & Power
    3. Food Service
    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. Belk Library & Information Commons
    13. Plemmons Student Union
    14. University Recreation
  4. Employees engaged in mandatory operations are considered "mandatory employees."
  5. When the National Weather Service issues severe weather warnings for conditions that may adversely impact travel conditions in our geographic area, the campus community will be notified of the warnings and weather conditions. 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.
  6. When potential or actual adverse weather conditions become severe enough to threaten health and safety and/or impact staffing levels necessary to maintain non-mandatory services, the Chancellor may suspend non-mandatory services. Upon communication of the suspension of non-mandatory services:
    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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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. 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 Interim Procedures

  1. 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/.
  2. 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.

 

 

4831-1131-0881, v. 2

Professional Development Survey

The Office of Human Resources recently conducted a survey to determine the professional development needs and preferences of its staff. The survey concluded in January 2015 and we are pleased to present the results of the survey to you. The ultimate goal of conducting this survey was to translate the results into a catalog of professional development training courses that can be offered to all employees. We are excited to begin laying the groundwork for these programs and appreciate all who have stepped forward to be a part of the planning process. Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey.

For more information, or to get involved, please contact Emily Wilson, wilsones1@appstate.edu, 828-262-6486.

Survey Results (PDF: 296KB)

Winter Break Closing

Winter Break Closure

In April, the Chancellor's Office announced that the University will be closed this year during the winter holiday break, to reduce fuel costs and to support our commitment to sustainability. The University will be closed beginning on December 24 and will re-open on January 5, 2015. During this time, only personnel who are required to maintain essential operations will be allowed to work on campus. Three of the scheduled closure days – December 30, 31 and January 2 -- are not considered university holidays and require employees to utilize available leave to be paid for those days.

Employees who may not have vacation or bonus leave available for the additional closure days, or those who wish to conserve those balances, are encouraged to consider utilizing available community service leave. The Staff Senate has done great work to identify a list of opportunities to utilize available community service leave. A Staff Senate flier identifying community organizations who have indicated that they can support volunteers during the winter break period can be found on the Staff Senate website at:

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

The flier also provides information on how to obtain approval to utilize community service leave and links to the applicable policy and request form.

Employees are not limited to the organizations identified in the Staff Senate flier but can apply available community service leave to any volunteer service allowable under the policy.

Employees who do not have available leave, including community service leave, to cover the additional closure days and for whom the days may cause a hardship are encouraged to contact Human Resources for assistance (828-262-3187).

Supervisors, please actively communicate with your employees about the winter closure. Please encourage and support use of community service leave and encourage employees to discuss their individual circumstances with Human Resources.

 

Email from Chancellor Peacock dated April 30, 2014.

Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock has accepted the recommendation of the Winter Break Committee to annually close the University during the winter holiday break, beginning with December, 2014.  This recommendation stems from Appalachian’s commitment to reducing fuel costs and the University’s overall commitment to sustainability. 

This year, in addition to December 24, 25, 26, and 29, which are already considered University holidays, Appalachian employees will be required to use available leave time for December 30, 31 and January 2, 2015.  Employees who are required to work (employees deemed critical/essential) will be given detailed instructions on how to code all appropriate hours on their timesheets closer to the winter break. 

Supervisors and administrators are encouraged to work with employees regarding alternative work schedules, alternative work locations on campus, flex schedules, telecommuting, or possible use of Community Service Leave to prevent employees from incurring a negative leave balance. 

 To view the most recent update, please visit this link.

Winter Break Closure Update

Winter Break Closure Update

As you know, our winter break closure this year will begin on December 24 and the University will re-open on January 5, 2015.  Please remember that the intent is to leverage an extended winter break to reduce our campus fuel consumption, both to reduce organizational expense and to support our commitment to sustainability.  To be successful, we must work to limit on-campus activity during the period to essential operations, to the extent possible.  At the same time, we are committed to minimizing the impact on employees who do not have sufficient vacation or bonus leave to cover the three non-holiday closure days, or those who may prefer to conserve their available leave for other purposes.

When we last communicated regarding the winter break closure, on November 14, it was to inform employees of opportunities to utilize community service leave (see Winter Break Closure at http://hrs.appstate.edu).  We continue to encourage this as a way for employees to manage the winter break closure and also support our community. 

The purpose of this communication is to provide guidance on two alternatives to community service leave available to help employees manage the non-holiday closure days -- telecommuting and professional development.

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.

For anyone needing assistance accessing university computer systems remotely, online tutorials are available on the Staff Senate website at: http://staffsenate.appstate.edu/announcements/meetings.  Links to the tutorials are in the notes for the Senate’s September 9 meeting.

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 2,900 courses and 128,000 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.com application 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.  Please note that the ITS Walk-In Service office will be closed after December 12 due to construction in Anne Belk Hall.

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.

2015 Annual Enrollment

Annual Enrollment for both the North Carolina State Health Plan and NCFlex will occur from October 1 – 31, 2014. Click Here to Enroll.

For further information, visit our 2015 Annual Enrollment page.

HB 834 - Changes to the Human Resources Act

Please click this link for more information on the Human Resources Act

 

2013-2015 Salary Parameters

2013 Legislative Salary Action Memo

2013-2015 10% Salary Increase Limit FAQs

2013-2015 Salary Freeze FAQs

2013-2014 Special Leave Granted

The North Carolina General Assembly ratified Senate Bill 402, which grants a one-time additional five days of special vacation leave effective July 1, 2013, to permanent, leave earning employees of the State. A pro-rated portion will be granted to employees who are designated three-quarter time or part-time. The 2013-2014 Special Leave provisions are the same as those identified in the 2012-2013 Special Leave Policy. As a reference, employees and supervisors will find attached a copy of the 2013-2014 Special Leave policy.

Since the additional five days, or a pro-rated portion, were granted effective July 1st, 2013 employees may choose to submit an amended time sheet to account for the Special Leave retroactive to July 1st, 2013. Amended time sheets must be submitted to payroll no later than August 16, 2013. After the amended timesheet date, no further retroactive leave adjustments will be allowed.

As identified in the policy, please keep in mind that Special Leave is to be treated in the same scope as Vacation Leave, in that leave must be requested from the employee and approved by the supervisor with as much advance notice as possible. Supervisors are encouraged to make every effort to allow employees to use this Special Leave prior to June 30, 2014 at which time it will expire.

For further questions please feel free to contact the Office of Human Resources at 262-3186.

Special Leave Policy

Processing July 2013 Personnel Actions (REVISED)

Memo from Suzanne T. Ortega, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and William A. Fleming, Vice President for Human Resources.

Memo from C. Neal Alexander, Jr., State Personnel Director

Processing Personnel Actions with Effective Dates of July 1 or Later

Emergency Loan Fund (ELF) Information

Click on the links below to view ELF information.

Emergency Loan Fund (ELF) Information


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