Official Closures Policy & Flexiplace

Q

The new Official Closures Policy has created an inconsistency in the application of closure time and flexiplace. This argues for urging UCAR to make its flexiplace policy as broad in its application as the new closure time policy is.

The new policy suggests that staff cover official closures with personal PTO, which is an option that I think few people will like. The other significant option is essentially what UCAR calls "flexiplace," including the option to work from home. The current flexiplace policy is not a required blanket policy, but is at the discretion of supervisors and the chain of command. The new Official Closures Policy applies uniformly to all exempt staff by using a solution that is not uniformly applied to all exempt staff.

How will this inconsistency be resolved? Either flexiplace should be changed to become a uniform policy for everyone, or it should be removed from the Official Closures Policy.

Answered on July 10, 2009

A

The President's Council recently approved a modification of the Official Closures Policy to

A) now provide closure time to casual employees who are scheduled to work on a day when UCAR declares an official closure, and

B) not provide closure hours to exempt (salaried) employees.

You are correct that one option under the new closure policy for exempt, salaried employees is to use PTO or Vacation hours during official closures. (Non-exempt, hourly employees can still claim closure time.) And I agree some folks may not like that option, although the writer of Delphi Question #609 said:

"I am disappointed that UCAR is offering to pay me for closure hours rather than having me draw on my quite generous pool of PTO hours, while at the same time denying pay to scheduled casual staff who do not get benefits."

While exempt employees may not claim closure hours, PTO or Vacation is not their only option. They may:

1. Work from home for the day. While formal long-term telecommuting or flexiplace requires approval from an employee's supervisor under UCAR procedures, many employees occasionally work from home on an informal basis. Some employees take work home in anticipation of bad weather. In an exception to the official flexiplace work policy, exempt employees may work at home on official closure days without formal approval from their supervisors.

2. Make up the work by coming in early or staying late on other days.

3. Come in to work. While each employee must evaluate his/her own safety, employees will not be locked out of the buildings during normal closures.

4. Make other arrangements with their supervisors on how to get the work done.

If none of these options work or if the employee wants to take the day off and shovel snow at home, PTO or Vacation time may be claimed.

There are no plans at this time to modify the guidelines regarding flexiplace.

Bob Roesch
Director of Human Resources