Human Resources

Suspended operations

The President or the President’s designee(s) may declare a temporary suspension of any or all University operations due to an emergency situation that adversely affects University operations, public health, or the well-being and safety of employees and students. Events which might require suspending operations include, but are not limited to:

  • Severe weather or natural disaster.
  • Spread of a communicable disease.
  • Fire or related hazard.
  • Immediate threat to the safety of the campus community.
  • Damage to or failure of UW infrastructure, equipment or mechanical systems.

When a decision to suspend operations has been, information will be shared through the UW Alert System and on the University of Washington Home Page. You can also call the UW Information Lines at 206-UWS-INFO (206-897-4636) or toll-free 1-866-897-4636.

Employees that a unit identifies as performing an essential service are required to report to work during any period of declared suspended operation. Employees in positions that are not designated as essential do not report to work when operations are suspended. These employees are covered by the pay and leave policies that apply during periods of suspended operations.

Telework may be a feasible option both for employees in essential positions and for regular employees who would not normally work during a suspension of operations. Employees may telework during suspended operations so long as they have the advance written approval of their supervisor or manager.

Prepare your department

The need for the University or a unit to suspend operations can arrive suddenly, with little or no advance warning. Units must therefore incorporate a response plan for suspended operations as part of their overall business continuity planning.

University officers (or their designees), including but not limited to the chancellors, vice presidents, vice provosts, vice chancellors, deans, and medical center chief executive officers are expected to annually:

  1. Identify those functions and/or positions in their unit(s) that perform essential services.
  2. Inform all of the employees in their units in writing of their status and responsibilities in the event the University suspends operations.
  3. Periodically remind employees of their status and responsibilities.

Positions that are designated as essential typically meet one or more of the following (or similar) criteria on a regular and ongoing basis, or during clearly defined times during the week, month, or year (like the payroll cycle):

The position is necessary to support or maintain:

  • Human health, welfare and/or safety.
  • Information technology services or security.
  • Building or property security, safety, and integrity.
  • Research animals, specimens, or equipment.
  • Critical infrastructure (power, water, heat, roads, etc.).
  • Critical business, contractual, or legal obligations including employee payroll.
Identify essential positions

Identify the positions in your unit that perform essential functions and make a record of them. Some units, like the medical centers, have determined that all positions are essential. In such cases it is not necessary to identify position incumbents individually.

Notify employees

Notify employees holding a position that performs an essential function in writing of their status at the time of hire and/or at the time of a change in status. Include this information in the employee’s job description and any job postings with a statement like:

This position is designated as one that performs an essential function. This means that the position’s incumbent must continue to report to work in the event that the University suspends operations because of severe weather, natural disaster, or other emergency condition.

Notify employees who only periodically perform an essential function of the periods during the month or year during which they must report to work if the University suspends operations.

Ensure that employees in positions that are not designated as essential understand their status so that they do not report to work during a suspension of operations.

Individual Employee Notification Templates

Notification reminder templates

Periodically remind employees of their status in the event the University suspends operations to ensure that they know what they are expected to do. Annual reminders are recommended.

The following templates can be customized to remind employees unit-wide of their status:

Classified and professional staff in positions designated essential report to work during suspended operations and the pay and leave practices for them are exactly the same as during regular periods of work. Employees in positions not designated essential do not report to work during suspended operations. The following table describes the pay and leave practices during suspended operations for classified and professional staff in positions not designated essential.

Leave and Pay Practices During Suspended Operations for Staff in Positions Not Designated as Essential
Employment Category Leave and Pay Practices for employees who do not work during suspended operations
Overtime-eligible Contract Classified Staff Missed work time is accounted for by using:

  • compensatory time, if available,
  • annual leave,
  • personal holiday (full-day absence only),
  • leave without pay, or
  • making up time missed (up to one work week). See more about make-up time below.
Overtime-exempt Contract Classified Staff Missed work time is accounted for by using:

  • compensatory time, if available,
  • annual leave,
  • personal holiday (full-day absence only),
  • leave without pay (full work days only), or
  • making up time missed (up to one work week). See more about make-up time below.
Overtime-eligible Classified Non-union staff Missed work time is accounted for by using:

  • compensatory time, if available,
  • annual leave,
  • personal holiday (full-day absence only),
  • leave without pay, or
  • making up time missed (up to one work week). See more about make-up time below.

(NOTE: Overtime-eligible classified non-union staff in positions designated as essential and who cannot report to work during suspended operations due to inclement weather may use up to 3 days of sick leave per calendar year for such absences after compensatory time, annual leave, and personal holiday have been exhausted (UW Administrative Policy Statement 45.02)

Overtime-exempt (excepted) Classified Non-union Staff Missed work time is accounted for by using:

  • compensatory time, if available,
  • annual leave,
  • personal holiday (full-day absence only),
  • leave without pay (full work days only), or
  • making up time missed (up to one work week). See more about make-up time below.

(NOTE: Overtime-exempt classified non-union staff in positions designated as essential and who cannot report to work during suspended operations due to inclement weather may use up to 3 days of sick leave per calendar year for such absences after compensatory time, annual leave, and personal holiday have been exhausted.)

Overtime-eligible Professional Staff Missed work time is accounted for by using:

  • compensatory time, if available,
  • annual leave,
  • personal holiday (full-day absence only),
  • leave without pay, or,
  • making up time missed (up to one work week). See more about make-up time below.
Overtime-exempt Professional Staff Overtime-exempt professional staff remain responsible for meeting all work obligations regardless of time missed during suspended operations. This may require working additional time outside of normal business hours when operations resume. Because of these expectations, overtime-exempt professional staff are not required to charge leave balances during suspended operations of less than one work week. Beyond one work week, time missed is charged to annual leave, other available leave (personal holiday, discretionary leave), or leave without pay (leave without pay may be charged for whole day absences only).
Making up missed work time

During a suspension of operations of less than one work week, classified non-union, contract classified, and overtime-eligible professional staff in positions that are not designated as essential have the option of making up time missed within 90 days of the date that suspended operations end.

The Make Up Time Calculator (Excel) can help you track and account for the make-up time worked.

Makeup time and overtime

Make-up time worked by employees in positions that are not overtime-eligible is credited as straight time. Make-up time worked by full-time employees in overtime-eligible positions is subject to the overtime compensation requirements of the individual’s employment program. The total value of the make-up time worked should not exceed the value of the total amount of time the employee missed during the period of suspended operations.

Emergency childcare

Employees in essential positions who have childcare responsibilities and who cannot come to work during suspended operations may be eligible to take emergency childcare leave in accordance with the provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreement or employment program.

Maintain leave records

During a period of suspended operations, maintain normal time and leave records for employees in positions designated as essential.

For employees eligible to make up time missed maintain an accurate record of missed work time so that make-up time can be tracked accurately.

ESSENTIAL SERVICES

When UW suspends operations, it doesn’t suspend essential services. Which employees perform “essential” services and are required to report to work during a suspension of operations?

Employees in positions designated as performing an essential service are required to report to work when the UW suspends regular operations. This includes all employees at UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center, as well as many positions in the UW Police Department, Facilities Services, and Housing and Food Services. In addition, positions in other departments are designated as performing an essential service on a position by position basis.

Vice Presidents, Deans, and other senior officers or their designees, identify those units and employees within their organizations responsible for providing essential services in order to ensure operational continuity. Employees in positions designated as essential receive notice of this designation from their supervisor.

Must employees in essential positions report to work when operations are suspended?

Yes. Employees in essential positions are required to report to work when the UW suspends regular operations unless their supervisor or administrator has given them advance approval to telework during suspended operations. Employees in essential positions who have difficulty commuting to work should contact their supervisors.

What pay rate do essential services employees receive when working during periods of suspended operations?

Essential services employees receive their regular rate of pay for work performed during suspended operations.

Can employees who perform essential services be absent from work during suspended operations because of a child care emergency, and if so, how are they compensated?

Yes. Employees who perform essential services but who experience a child care emergency are entitled to be absent and use leave according to the provisions of their employment program. (See the appropriate collective bargaining agreement, civil service rules, or professional staff program, as applicable.)


MAKING UP TIME

How much time does an employee have to make up time missed due to suspended operations?

An employee has 90 calendar days following the period of suspended operations to make up missed time.

What happens if an employee is unable to make up the time within the 90 calendar days?

If an employee does not make up the time within 90 days or charge it to appropriate leave balances, the employee is obligated to pay back to the University, as an overpayment, any hours not made up.

Why do classified staff and overtime eligible professional staff in positions designated non-essential have to make up the time missed or use paid leave if they have been told to stay home during suspended operations?

A suspension of operations does not create an extra paid “holiday” for employees who do not work. This is why employees who did not work must use paid leave or make up time missed.

Can an employee in an essential position, but who can’t get in to work during a period of suspended operations, make up the time missed?

No. Employees in positions designated as essential are expected to report to working during suspended operations. If an employee is not able to report to work, normal leave process apply e.g. the employee must call in to report being absent from work, provide a reason for the absence, and use whatever form of leave is available and appropriate based on the circumstances.

Why do overtime exempt professional staff not have to make up time missed during suspended operations?

Overtime exempt professional staff are held accountable for getting work done regardless of the amount of time it takes to do it. If a period of suspended operations interrupts work, then the professional staff employee needs to work as much as is required to catch up on work that may have been missed. Overtime exempt professional staff do not receive pay for additional time that is worked to meet commitments.

For employees who are allowed to use annual leave, compensatory time, leave without pay, or make up missed work time, who decides which option is selected, the employee or the supervisor?

The employee  chooses whether to use leave or to make up time missed during suspended operations.

When an employee chooses to make up time missed during suspended operations, who determines when the employee will make up the missed work time?

The employee can propose a plan for making up the missed work time, but the plan must be consistent with the needs of the unit, must meet employee safety standards, and be approved by the supervisor. If the proposed make up plan is not consistent with unit needs, the employee and supervisor should work together to identify a work make up plan that best meets unit and employee needs.

Are classified staff and overtime eligible professional staff who choose to make up time missed during suspended operations placed on leave without pay until the time is made up?

No. Allowing employees to make up time missed during suspended operations is an option that prevents the employee from having to be placed on leave without pay because the employee either does not have, or chooses not to use annual leave, personal holiday (full day absence only) or compensatory time to use to cover missed work time.


OVERTIME

Why do most full time, overtime eligible classified and professional staff get credited with overtime when they work extra hours to make up time missed during suspended operations while employees who are actually required to be at work do not?

UW labor contracts and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act determine when overtime eligible employees must get paid overtime when working extra hours. The University must follow these requirements regardless of the reason that extra hours are worked.


PROBATIONARY CLASSIFIED STAFF

Can probationary employees who do not perform an essential service use accrued annual leave to cover time missed during suspended operations?

In order to charge the time off to a particular type of paid leave, the employee must otherwise be eligible to use the leave. Probationary classified employees who do not perform essential services and miss time due to suspended operations must either make up time missed or take leave without pay.


WORKING DURING SUSPENDED OPERATIONS

Can an employee report to work during suspended operations if their position has not been designated as performing essential services?

When the University suspends operations it is for safety or for other equally important operational reasons. Therefore employees who are not required to report to work during suspended operations should not come to work.

If the University suspends operations and an employee who does not perform an essential service comes into the office and works, does the employee get paid?

The University is required to pay an employee for the work performed, but the employee should be advised that they should not come to work unless they are in a position that performs an essential service.

During suspended operations, can a supervisor allow an employee to work from home?

Depending on the nature and duration of the operational suspension, if the supervisor determines that the employee has meaningful work to perform, the supervisor may allow the employee to work from home, i.e., telework.

How does the Suspended Operations policy affect staff who are scheduled to telework?

Staff who normally telework should discuss their work situation with their supervisor to determine if the suspension of operations affects their work. If they are able to accomplish work during periods of suspended operations, they should be encouraged to do so.


SCHEDULED LEAVE

Can an overtime exempt professional staff employee who was scheduled to be on paid leave during the period of suspended operations withdraw the leave request and receive regular pay for the days away from work?

No. A suspension of non essential operations does not create a “holiday” for overtime exempt professional staff, as the expectation for work to get done remains unchanged. When an employee is on paid leave work expectations are normally adjusted consistent with the amount of time the employee will be off work.


Related policy links

  • Executive Order 27 – Suspended Operations Policy
  • APS 40.2 – Designation of Classified and Professional Staff Employees Who Perform Essential Services
  • APS 45.2 – Leave Use and Compensation for Classified and Professional Staff During Suspended Operations and During Inclement Weather