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Adverse Weather Conditions and States of Emergency Policy

Policy Statement

When places of work remain open during periods of inclement weather, employees should make every effort to report to work. Recognizing that some employees may find it difficult to report for work during periods of inclement weather due to family responsibilities, transportation problems or road conditions, the employer will make every effort to accommodate employees' requests for leave, subject to the operational requirements of the workplace.

Application

This policy applies to all employees in Government departments. Bargaining unit employees should also consult their respective collective agreements.


Definitions

Adverse Weather Conditions inclement weather conditions such as a heavy snowfall or sleet
 
Headquarters the actual building or other regular place of employment where an employee is normally stationed or required to use as a base of operation
 
Headquarters Area an area within a radius of 20 kilometres from an employee's headquarters
State of Emergency an abnormal situation that requires prompt action, beyond normal procedures to minimize damages to persons, property or the environment; a real or anticipated occurrence which endangers or is likely to endanger the safety, welfare, and well-being of some or all of the population, either in a municipality or the Province.

A state of emergency may be declared by an incorporated municipality or by the Province.
 

Responsibilities

Department
It is the responsibility of individual departments to:

  • develop an action plan ensuring the continuation of vital departmental operations during times of adverse weather or when a state of emergency is declared; and
  • to ensure appropriate controls and protocols are in place within their departments dealing with closure of local offices.

Employee
It is the responsibility of employees to:

  • make every effort to come to work during periods of adverse weather when their place of work remains open.
State of Emergency

With the exception of those employees designated by the Employer as required to remain at or report to work, employees will receive leave with pay during the period of closure when a state of emergency has been declared within a headquarters.

The Employer may require any employee to report for duty during any period of the declared emergency.

Employees who are required to report to work will, when necessary and where possible, be supplied by the Employer with transportation to and from their place of work.

Employees who, without good reason, refuse the offer of transportation may be subject to disciplinary action.

Workplace Closures due to Adverse Weather

The decision to close Government offices due to adverse weather conditions will be made as per the procedures outlined below:

St. John's / Mount Pearl Area
In the St. John's / Mount Pearl area, any decision to close government offices or to permit employees to leave work early (without using paid / annual leave) is made by the Clerk or Deputy Clerk of Executive Council and affects all offices in the area. Departments will not close offices or permit employees to leave early unless directed to do so.

If a decision to close offices is made before the start of the normal work day, a message to this effect will be broadcast on local radio stations and also posted on Government's web site. If a decision to close offices is made after the start of a work day, this decision will be communicated to departmental Deputy Ministers for transmittal to employees.

Outside the St. John's / Mount Pearl Area
Weather conditions vary considerably across regions of the province. As a result, the decision to close government offices in communities outside the St. John's / Mount Pearl area will be based on local weather conditions and made by local senior managers as designated by the department's Deputy Minister.

In cases where more than one department has employees in a community, the senior managers of these departments are expected to communicate with one another to ensure all employees in a community receive a consistent message.

Deputy Ministers should ensure they have appropriate controls and protocols in place within their departments dealing with closure of local offices.

Closures Prior to the Start of the Work Day

When appropriate, Government will make a public announcement, prior to the start of the work day, on days when storms are forecast, stating whether Government offices are opened or closed.

When the workplace is closed prior to the start of the workday, employees (other than those on approved leave or those employees designated by the Employer as required to remain at or report to work) will be credited with a full day of work.

When Government offices are closed, the Government Home Page will contain a message about the closure. This message will only be available when Government offices are closed.

Closures During the Work Day

Employees who report to work:
When the workplace closes during the work day due to adverse weather, those employees who reported to work and remained at work until the offices were officially closed will be credited for a full day of work.

Employees who are on sick leave or pre-approved leave:
Employees who are on sick leave, or who have previously approved annual or paid leave, time off in lieu of overtime or leave without pay, prior to the workplace closing will be required to take that leave as previously requested and approved.

Employees who do not report to work:
When the workplace closes during the work day due to adverse weather, those employees who informed their supervisors that they would not report to work due to the adverse weather will be required to take annual leave, paid leave, time off in lieu of overtime or leave without pay. The number of hours of leave required will be based on the employee's regular work schedule and the time the offices were officially closed.

For example: consider the employee who has a regular 7-hour work day from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, with an hour lunch break from 12:30pm to 1:30 pm. If Government offices close during the work day due to adverse weather and the employee notified the office that he/she would not report to work because of the adverse weather, then the following situations would apply:

  • if the office closes at 11:30am- the employee would be required to use 3 hours of paid leave, annual leave, accumulated leave in lieu of overtime, or leave without pay.
  • if the office closes at 3:30pm- the employee would be required to use 6 hours of paid leave, annual leave, accumulated leave in lieu of overtime, or leave without pay.

Other Absences

Employees who live outside the headquarters area and who are prevented from reporting to work due to the closure of subsidiary roads, ferry operations, side streets, driveways, private roads or main roads outside the headquarters area, will be required to take annual leave, paid leave, time off in lieu of overtime or leave without pay.

Special circumstances which warrant employees leaving work early may be considered by the Deputy Minister and annual leave, paid leave, time off in lieu of overtime or leave without pay granted accordingly.

Last Policy Update: November 17, 2011

 
Last Updated:
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