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Faculty and Staff

About That Snow Day

Employees who missed work due to the recent snowstorm will have to make up the hours after all, the university said in a memo this week.

A Wolf Alert safety notice widely distributed on Jan. 21 advised employees and students that NC State would be closed on Friday, Jan. 22, under “Status 1” of the adverse weather policy. But to conform with a recent policy change adopted by the university system, NC State’s status has been retroactively changed to “Condition 2 (suspended operations).”

A communication from UNC General Administration announcing the policy change in December seemed to indicate “campuses had flexibility regarding implementation timelines,” the NC State memo said. “Given this understanding and operating under existing guidelines, university leadership made decisions they felt were in the best interest of student and employee safety during the recent storm.”

Under the new policy, which went into effect on Jan. 1, employees must make up time not worked, use paid leave time such as vacation or bonus time, or forego pay.

Administrators apologized for the inconvenience to employees and urged managers to be as flexible as possible in allowing them to make up or account for the missed work time.

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  1. A mistake by the University, and co-signed by Provost Arden and Vice-Chancellor Douglass (memo dated Jan 20, 2016) should not be billed to its lowest-paid employees. The fact that there was a new policy is irrelevant; because if they were accidentally operating under the old rules, they could have simply declared “status 3.” I have a few questions: Should people have driven in to work that day? If employees were not so upset over this, do you think the State Employee Health Plan Board of Trustees would have passed the elimination of the 80/20 plan, and/or the elimination of spouse coverage on Feb 5th? Will those be benefits eliminated the next time they meet? Why is it that the state’s teacher salaries were ranked 47th in 2014? Why is it that the state superintendent is having such difficulty filling teacher positions to teach the children of NC (Jan 28th-WNCN)? Are all of these questions related and should we be more concerned?

  2. It’s great to hear the voice of NC State employees in the comments. I am extremely disappointed in the way NC State has been forced to rescind on the original Status 1 dictate that closed the campus and allowed non-essential employees to stay safely at home and off the roads during the recent snow storm, as the Governor had requested. I am disappointed with not only our University administration for letting the pressure get to them, but also with our GA for demonstrating their true disregard for the safety of their employees and quick action to TAKE AWAY A DAY FROM THEIR EMPLOYEES EVEN THOUGH EMPLOYEE MORALE IS ALREADY LOW. It’s shameful that they will quickly take that away and force employees to make up the time lost, but they’ll drag their feet to improve employee morale and they will rapidly continue to cut funding to areas in need at the cost of “non-essential employees.”

  3. I understand policy but is it our fault that policy was misinterpereted? When you think about the majority of the employees that will be affected by the changing of horses in the middle of the stream, they are the SPA staff and some EPA Professionals or 12 month employees. SPA employees do not have the luxury of working from home without approval. This is a slap in the face for SPA employees who are so often left out of salary increases, additional pay for additional work and all the things we do over and above normal job responsibilities. Now we have to take leave for time that we were told we would not have to take. The storm warnings were issued at least 3 or 4 days before the storm. Did anyone think about reviewing policies at that time? I guess safety is not a real concern for employees because sidewalks and parking lot was not cleared and deiced even when we came back on Monday when the university officially opened. This error was really a morale killer.

  4. I wonder why they didn’t declare those days “Condition 3” so that employees wouldn’t have to make up the time and the new policy would have been implemented…

  5. I appreciate the attempt by the University to explain their mistake in implementing the new policy, but the only step that will have any meaning to employees is for the University to “restore the time to the employees and enforce the new policy from the date it was distributed to the staff.”

  6. I agree that employees should not be held responsible for this error that the University made. And to Diane’s comment about what will they take away from us next? That will be the free healthcare option that we currently have according to today’s news reports.

  7. I agree with Barbara and Diane, the University should not penalize the employees for following their direction. It is awfully bold to assume the employees will bow to this reversal. The push-back should be from the NCSU to the UNC General Administration, not the employees to NCSU.

  8. As frustrating as this situation is, pointing fingers seems ultimately pointless (no pun intended). The fact is that for many this is an inconvenience but for a few it’s a real hardship. Perhaps the folks in HR could look into whether the shared leave system could be used to assist those struggling to account for their missed work time. I would be willing to contribute a couple of days of leave or bonus time. I guess I’m at the stage where I’m willing to accept the things I can’t change and try to change the things I can.

  9. I can guarantee that in the area in which I work, there has been at least a day’s worth of productivity lost by the employees who this has affected because of their fussing and fuming over the policy switch. This is a major failure by administrators (probably at the UNC level where they have no clue about where the work gets done) to recognize the realities of how to treat employees. We’re going to be hearing about this flub up for a long time, and it’s going to on the top of the list of reasons when some employees decide to move on.

  10. I concur with the above statements and am very upset that employees are being penalized ‘after the fact’ for a mistake made on the part of the University. And its not just one day, but to add insult to injury, employees must also make up time that was missed on the following Monday due to the University’s decision to open late. This just doesn’t seem fair but I’m not surprised as nothing is given to us. I’m sure many employees would agree that this will definitely have a huge impact on morale and how we view our place of employment. I am very disappointed to say the least!

  11. This doesn’t affect me (directly), but I can see why this would upset people. The university administration is at fault here and they need to reverse this decision.

  12. I don’t know where to begin with this situation, but it has been deeply frustrating and has palpably affected employee morale for the worse. Communications from the University on January 21st were very clear that offices were closed on the 22nd and all nonessential personnel were not required to come in. No contradictory information was relayed to staff until the following Thursday evening, a full week later. Many employees might have made the decision to come in on the 21st if conditions were safe for them, but we were told offices were closed. The Governor even encouraged people to stay off the roads due to ice and snow hazards. Yet somehow, a week after the fact, it was determined that not only was a closing not warranted based on the conditions, but that in fact the University had not been closed after all. Thus everybody who was essentially told to stay home had now missed work hours that would have to be made up. The policy from GA was in place before the storm and the University was aware of it. Having read the memos from the Provost’s office it is still unclear to me how the confusion occurred, and at what level it was decided that the University was retroactively open. Perhaps the most saddening thing about the situation is that several colleagues said afterward, “I expected something like this would happen,” about the confusion and reversal.

  13. “We regret the inconvenience caused by this” is hardly an apology. The new policy did not go into effect for NCSU on January 1st. It should have, but it went into effect on January 28th and was made retro-active. This was a huge mistake by the University officials and now the low-level employees are getting the shaft. Coupled with the new State Health Plan information that went out this week as well, it is no wonder why morale is in the can. The University should just write this one off and not force any employees to make up time as they are the ones who made the mistake and not worker bees.

  14. The University had an obligation to inform it’s employees of the change in policy. We were 22 days into the month and nothing had been said. On the day of the snow event, the University published on its web page that the University was closed and employees would not need to make up the time. All the media news shows showed in the banners that NCSU was closed both on January 22nd and until 10:00AM on January 25th. I do understand that the University must comply to the new policy, however, there should be some give here; as the policy was not dispatched in time. The University should bite the bullet and restore the time to the employees and enforce the new policy from the date it was distributed to the staff.

    1. Absolutely Barbara! Why not bite the bullet, restore the time and enforce the policies from this point forward. This is horrible! I have never in all my years of employment experience such a thing. So unfair!

  15. I feel as though since it was an University error, employees should not be penalized for adhering to the directions of the University, to stay away from campus if they were not essential personnel. There are employees who have second jobs just to make ends meet or have childcare issues that will not allow them to stay late or come in early to make up this time. I could understand if they said from this point forward, but to make it retroactive, isn’t fair and has just made moral go down even more. I just wonder what will be taken away from us next.