Occasionally, adverse weather or other emergencies may lead the University to delay or close operations. In the event this occurs, employees should be aware of their status and responsibilities during such an event. We address some common questions related to University delays/closures below.
1. How will I know if the University is on a delay or closed?
The UK website, local news and radio will carry news of a closure or delay. You may also call the UK Infoline at 859-257-5684. To receive automated calls, texts or emails, you may sign up for UK Alert notifications. UK Alerts allow you to choose your preferred methods of contact.
2. What is Plan B?
Normal operations (everyone coming into work on their scheduled time) is Plan A. Plan B is instituted in an emergency and requires designated staff (UK HealthCare, Physical Plant, Auxiliary Services, IT, etc.) to report to work. Plan B is outlined in Human Resources Policy and Procedure (HRP&P) #71.0, University Emergencies. [Note: Designated employees are required to come to work on a normal schedule regardless of any delays or closures.] If you are unsure if you are a designated employee, see below for details or contact your supervisor.
3. Has the University Emergency Policy changed recently?
Yes. Human Resources Policy & Procedure #71.0 University Emergencies was updated in 2015 with the following changes:
- Policy terminology regarding employees whose job functions must continue through a University emergency was changed from “essential employee” to “designated employee.” All employees are essential to the operation of the University on a daily basis. Not all employees’ work, however, must continue uninterrupted in order to immediately respond to an emergency. Therefore, the term “designated employee” more accurately reflects immediate needs in an emergent situation.
- Created an additional employee status of “designated, working remotely.” There are some instances when work must continue uninterrupted during emergent circumstances, but an employee’s physical presence at their normal work location is not absolutely necessary. This classification allows employees to perform functions immediately needed to address an emergent circumstance at an alternate location.
- Non-designated personnel are now expressly directed not to report to work during delay or closure periods. In adverse weather conditions, unnecessary volume on the roads and grounds hinders emergency efforts and involves unnecessary risk for employees.
- Additional clarification was added to stress that non-designated employees who report to work during delay/closure will not receive emergency closing time at a later date.
4. How do I know if I am a designated employee?
You should be notified of your status by your supervisor. In general, designated employees include but are not necessarily limited to:
- All UK HealthCare employees (payroll area 1500), which includes all those working in hospitals, clinics, clinical departments of the College of Medicine and administrative units (except where indicated by the employee’s supervisor). View the UK HealthCare policy on Plan B staffing during university emergencies here.
- All Physical Plant Division (Medical Center and campus) employees.
- Food Service and Environmental Service employees working in UK HealthCare and student facilities.
- Information Technology employees such as telephone operators, data center operations staff and designated network specialists.
If you have questions, please check with your supervisor to confirm your status.
5. Will work done by designated employees during periods of closures or cancellations count as "comp time?"
Designated employees reporting to work in non-UK HealthCare areas during Plan B events will receive their regular rate of pay and receive an equivalent amount of time off with pay (to be taken within six weeks).
UK HealthCare employees' attendance during Plan B events will be counted as normal time with no equivalent time off with pay. View the UK HealthCare policy on Plan B staffing during university emergencies here.
6. How should regular, non-designated employees indicate delay or closure time on their timesheets?
Non-designated employees should not report to work during the delay or closure. Indicate the appropriate period of time on your timesheet with a 7407 Emergency Closing absence/attendance code. For example, if the University operates on a two-hour delay and you are a regular employee whose normal start time is 8 a.m., indicate the time between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. as a 7407 Emergency Closing code. You will be paid for this time. Non-regular employees are only paid for actual hours worked and will not be paid for the Emergency Closing time if they did not come in. Please check with your supervisor regarding specific use of the Emergency Closing time code for your situation.
7. How do weather- or emergency-related delays/closings affect employees who work from home?
One of the following two scenarios should apply (employees who work from home should check with their supervisors to confirm which applies to them):
An employee working from home whose work is dependent upon other employees or departments to complete work would fall under the Emergency Closing hours guideline (employee would not work until University re-opening) and receive Emergency Closing compensatory time or pay for hours of emergency closure.
An employee working from home whose work does not depend upon other employees or departments would work as normal (their working from home is not impacted by Emergency Closing) and not receive Emergency Closing hours as compensatory time or pay.
8. What happens if a designated employee doesn't report to work on time during a Plan B closure or delay?
Per HR Policy & Procedure #71.0, designated employees who are required to work during a period of emergency, but who do not report to work as scheduled, may be subject to corrective action up to and including termination of employment. NOTE: If an employee is already scheduled to be off work (Vacation Leave, Temporary Disability Leave, Funeral Leave, etc.), he or she does not get additional emergency closing leave. The time should remain as vacation leave, temporary disability leave, etc.
9. What happens if a non-designated employee is unable to report to work by the delayed opening?
In the event a non-designated employee is unable to report to work by the delayed opening, he or she must first contact his or her supervisor. Non-designated employees who are unable to report to work at the delayed University opening time may take the additional time away from work as Vacation Leave with supervisor approval.
10. Do non-designated employees (non-UK HealthCare) working non-standard schedules receive the same Emergency Closing leave time for delayed openings as employees who work 8 a.m. to 4:30 (or 5) p.m.?
We strongly encourage employees working non-standard schedules to check with their supervisors on department practices regarding scheduling in the event of an opening delay. Below, we have listed a few examples of managing delayed openings for employees who reported to work at communicated, delayed start time (e.g., a two-hour delay would mean a 10 a.m. communicated, delayed start time):
Scheduled start time is earlier than 8 a.m. – will receive the given number of hours of emergency closing pay and will need to use accrued, unused vacation or holiday leave to cover any missing time; can forgo the missing hours with no corrective action; or work with their supervisor to determine if they can “make up” the missing time during the same work week.
Example: Employee’s scheduled start time is 7:30 a.m. and reports to work at communicated, delayed start time of 10 a.m. Employee would use 2 hours of emergency closing time and 30 minutes of vacation leave.
Scheduled start time is after 8:00 a.m. but prior to the delayed start time – will receive emergency closing pay for the time period between their scheduled start time and the communicated delayed start time.
Example: Employee’s scheduled start time is 8:30 a.m. and reports to work at communicated, delayed start time of 10 a.m. Employee would use 1.5 hours of emergency closing time.
11. Are UK HealthCare clinical employees (non-hospital) required to report to work on a normal schedule during delays or closures?
UK HealthCare facilities operate on a normal schedule during University delays or closures. As a result, employees in these areas are considered designated and should report to work at their regular start time.
Employees in health care colleges have been classified as either designated or non-designated. Employees should check with supervisors if they have any questions about their status. Employees in clinical departments of the College of Medicine on the UK HealthCare payroll (1500 personnel area) will not receive equivalent time off (at a future date) for hours worked during an official University closing or delay.
For details regarding UK HealthCare policy regarding Plan B staffing for University Emergencies, click here.
Tips for Supervisors
Typically, Plan B designation allows the university to continue performing critical operations for safety, patient care, and on-campus needs for dining and residence hall maintenance during emergency situations. As stated in the FAQ, these will typically be employees in UK HealthCare, Physical Plant, Auxiliary Services, UK Police, etc., that are designated employees. At times, other employees may be designated by their supervisors during a particular Plan B event in order to perform other critical functions.
These tips are a guide for supervisors to assist them in determining whether employees should be designated. Supervisors should communicate with their next-level managers to ensure employee designations align with the operational needs of their area. If there are potential situations in which some or all of your staff may be assigned as designated in the future, discuss them with each employee individually and as a group. Communication of expectations prior to emergency events is important.
We have an important event planned. Should everyone working the event be designated?
In many cases, events on campus will be canceled during a University emergency. If it is determined by your leadership and campus safety officials that an event will continue as scheduled, staff can be designated for the event.
We have a critical deadline during the emergency. Can staff be designated so we can meet the deadline?
Deadlines internal to the University are often extended due to the emergency, though some, such as payroll entry, may require some employees to be designated in order to meet the deadline. If deadlines are not able to be extended, then employees may be designated to work in order to meet the deadline.
If employees are able to work remotely, should they be assigned designated to work remotely status?
If the employee can perform the functions that are critical to continuing operations during the emergency from a remote location, establishing that employee as designated working remotely likely makes sense. However, the ability to complete work remotely should not be the only consideration when deciding whether to designate an employee. Please note again that this status means the employee is available and actively working the duration of their shift. This is different from the occasional checking of email, for example.
Please see also the official University statement regarding Plan B processes by clicking here.
For more details on University Emergency (Plan B) policy (HR Policy & Procedure 71.0), click here. If you have questions, please contact Employee Relations at (859) 257-8758.