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Division of Human Resources

Hazardous Weather and Emergency Leave FAQs

How is the determination made that the university will close due to hazardous weather?

As a State agency and in accordance with State Human Resources Regulations Section 19.712.01 K.1., the university must follow the delay and closing determinations made by the county government officials where the university and its campuses are located. There is also an exception to allow the immediate evacuation of a facility by an individual in a supervisory capacity in the interest of personal safety. Typically, the agency head or a designee is responsible for making this decision.

Where should employees go to determine if the university is closed due to hazardous weather?

Any closings or delayed openings of state government offices are posted on the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s website. The university will send notifications using the Carolina Alert system which includes text messages, emails, social media and the gateways. The university will also notify local news outlets to communicate delays and closings. USC Columbia employees may register for Carolina Alert and update contact information through VIP.

How is it determined that an event will warrant hazardous weather leave?

The Governor has been given authority to provide State employees up to five days of leave with pay for absences from work due to a declared state of emergency for hazardous weather. If granted, the Governor issues an Executive Order after the hazardous weather emergency has ended.

If an employee has taken annual and/or sick leave for a time period in which hazardous weather has been declared, how should that situation be handled?

Hazardous weather leave should be utilized for those planning to work. As a result, anyone planning to take leave for the day should not be granted hazardous weather leave. If you feel there are extenuating circumstances surrounding the leave taken, please consult the Employee Relations Office within the Division of Human Resources.

How should it be handled if a non-essential employee reports to work even though the Governor or the agency head (or designee) has declared an emergency condition?

The department supervisor should send the employee home unless the employee's personal safety would be jeopardized. If an employee ignores a directive to leave the work site, time worked must still be counted as work time, but the employee may be subject to discipline in accordance with the progressive discipline policy.

What if the Governor has not declared a state of emergency, but the employee’s personal safety is jeopardized?

If the employee’s safety is jeopardized, the employee should contact a manager and request leave. Employees are expected to use their best judgement.

If a period of time for a hazardous weather event is not authorized by the Governor, how will the university account for the time?

The State Human Resources Regulations provide three options for employees to account for the lost work time. Employees are: 1) allowed to use annual or compensatory leave, 2) allowed to take leave without pay, or 3) allowed to make up time lost from work.

Are the options presented available to all employees or just those who accrue leave? In other words, are temporary employees allowed to make up the time they missed?

The options regarding the use of leave with or without pay are only available to employees who accrue leave. However, because of the personal financial impact this may have on temporary employees, the university strongly encourages departments to allow employees in temporary positions to make up time missed. Departments should work diligently to try to accommodate employee solutions and apply consistently throughout the work unit. Temporary employees may be allowed to make up missed time, but it is at the discretion of the department, unit or supervisor for which they work.

What if my department does not have any available make up work time—no hours prior to open or close and no weekend work available?

The department should work with the employees and have them involved in offering viable solutions, such as, shortening lunch periods or extending work hours during high workload periods which might occur within the timeline given for using this option.

If an employee is given the option to make up time, how should they enter the time they were absent on the hazardous weather day so they can receive full pay for the time missed?

Employees will get paid for the time within the applicable pay cycle for which the event occurred, if they input WEATHER- RPT Weather Time Taken for the days missed.

If an employee is given 90 days to make up time missed, is that calendar days or work days?  Does this include holidays?

The 90-day period is a calendar day period and includes holidays.

If a non-essential employee works during the period the university was closed, how should we proceed with their entry of time in ITAMS?

You should have them enter their time in ITAMS. However, if they did this without approval, you may want to advise them on how you wish to proceed in these situations going forward. You might also want to find a way of documenting this expectation for future reference.

What should non-exempt employees expect when most or all of their scheduled hours have been worked at the time that hazardous leave is declared for less than a whole day?

Non-exempt employees will be paid based on hours worked. However, if the time actually worked is less than the planned schedule, hazardous weather time should be entered in ITAMS to allow only for the balance of scheduled work time required. In the event of an expected hazardous weather event, supervisors may monitor time worked to determine which employees have sufficient time to leave based on related workload and scheduling needs.