Inclement Weather

The Chancellor of the UW Colleges has the authority to cancel classes, close a campus to the public, or completely close a campus to the public and employees.  This authority arises from UW System standing as an independent agency of the state and the general delegated authority from the Board of Regents and the UW System President for the administration and operation of the institution.

The Chancellor is delegating limited authority to close a campus to the public to the CEO/Dean of each of the thirteen campuses.  The Chancellor does not delegate the authority to close the campus to employees.  On the extremely rare occasion a CEO/Dean may feel a campus must be closed to employees, he/she should seek approval from the Vice Chancellor for Administration.

It is state policy to keep state offices “open” for employees even when severe weather causes state offices to be closed to the public.  The UW System President has maintained a consistent preference that campuses remain open if at all possible, even if classes need to be canceled.

Unclassified personnel policies govern the treatment of faculty and academic staff in the event severe weather causes the disruption or cancellation of work.  Because Wisconsin Administrative Code and civil service laws impose very specific obligations on employers for denying classified employees the opportunity to work, please read the following carefully:

  • The terms “essential personnel or work stations” have no definition or meaning under the Wisconsin Administrative Code.  Therefore, the use of such phrases in determining who may leave work or who may not be excused from reporting for work becomes confusing and open to misinterpretation.
  • Where localized weather conditions require authorities to act independently,
    • State facilities may be closed to the public if it is determined to be necessary.  However, facilities should not be closed to employees.
    • Use of the phrase “closing of state offices to the public” is worth noting.  This term avoids any inference employees may draw from the closing that the employer is creating a “lockout.”  By closing the offices to the public only, agencies are able to use discretion and properly implement the applicable provisions of labor agreements and personnel rules.

All employees can be allowed to make up lost time due to hazardous weather, or charge such time to annual vacation leave, accumulated holiday leave, or accrued compensatory time.  They may also opt to take the missed hours without pay.  Use of sick leave for this purpose is not permitted.  Make-up hours will be compensated at the regular rate of pay.  Classified FLSA non-exempt employees who choose to make up lost time due to hazardous weather must do so during the current work week.  Classified FLSA exempt employees can make up the lost time during the current or next pay period.

The Chancellor’s office is required to report closings to UW System as soon as it becomes aware of them.  Please keep that office informed of weather conditions that affect the operation of your campus.

Any Dean acting to either close a campus to the public or delay/cancel classes under this policy should send notification of such closing/delay/cancellation to the e-mail distribution list UWC-Weather Cancellations (

If you have questions, please contact David Prucha in the Office of Human Resources at David Prucha or (608) 262-0826.

December 18, 2012