Inclement Weather and Other Conditions

Adopted Policy 8.3

Policy Purpose

To set forth the University at Albany’s operations and requirement for reporting to work during inclement weather events, or other conditions that are severe, may disrupt transportation, or endanger the health of employees.

Responsible Office

The Office of Human Resources

Responsible Executive

Chief Human Resources Officer

Policy Statement

During inclement weather, the University must maintain functions and services that meet operational needs at the time of the event. As a public institution, only the governor has the ability to direct the closure of the Campus. The president or designee does have the authority to shift to alternative instructional delivery, cancel classes, or shift to a hybrid-remote working day if inclement weather is expected. The University is committed to protecting the safety of its students, faculty, staff, third party entities, etc. during an inclement weather event, as well as providing critical services to those in need. 

Persons Affected

Staff, Third Parties


Campus is any University owned, leased, licensed, or operated space, including but not limited to the Uptown Campus, the Downtown Campus, Alumni Quad, and the Health Sciences Campus

Continuity of Operations is an effort within individual units and departments to ensure that primary mission essential functions continue to be performed during a wide range of emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents and technological or attack-related emergencies.

Employee is any faculty member of the University at Albany or staff employed by the University at Albany or its affiliated entities and its subcontractors who are issued University at Albany identification cards.

Essential Employee is a University Employee (state payroll, RFSUNY payroll, University affiliate and their vendors payroll) who is required to report to a designated work location(s), or to a remote/alternate work location(s), to ensure the operation of essential services during an emergency or when the University has closed or curtailed operations. Volunteers cannot be designated as essential under this policy.

Inclement Weather is defined as any severe or harsh weather condition that poses a significantly increased risk to travel or commute.

Liberal Leave is a leave designation made by the President, or designee, under which University employees who have not been designated as Essential Employees may choose to work, or to take accrued leave credits (other than sick leave) or leave without pay without the requirement of prior supervisory approval. 

Other Conditions are defined as localized accidents, utility or technological disruption, homeland security emergencies, or other conditions that disrupt travel or endanger the safety of Employees.

Third Party or Parties is any person, organization, group or entity not legally affiliated with the University including, but not limited to, the general public, contractors, vendors, guests and visitors to the University, those using University facilities or property under a University revocable permit.

UAlbany Alert is the University’s official platform to communicate emergencies to the Campus community-including weather-related delays and closures. UAlbany Alerts are delivered via text message, voicemail, and email.

University is the University at Albany, State University of New York.


To promote the safety and resiliency of the University community, the University must maintain functions and services that meet the needs of students, provide safety operations, maintain buildings, and support critical research programs. Therefore, the University is establishing a policy that will ensure the core mission of the University is met during a weather event or when other conditions are severe enough to disrupt transportation or endanger the safety of Employees.

  1. Continuity of Operations
    1. The University must be able to provide critical functions and services during an Inclement Weather incident.
    2. Therefore, departments should identify and prioritize these functions, and supervisors should communicate expectations to Employees who support these functions well ahead of any anticipated weather event.
    3. All departments should routinely review their continuity plans and keep the plans up to date to ensure functions and services can be maintained amid a weather event.
  2. Employee Travel When Campus is Fully Operational
    1. It is acknowledged that there may be times when the Campus remains fully operational but localized or area specific weather or other condition may impact an employee’s travel to work. 
    2. When the Campus is fully operational and course delivery remains in person, Emloyees should make reasonable efforts to arrive at work for their regular scheduled shifts.
    3. If an Employee determines weather or other conditions create a significant hazard, if appropriate, supervisors, managers, and department heads are authorized to approve a reasonable amount of tardiness charged to the appropriate leave credits and not to penalize the Employee.
    4. If an Employee cannot report to work due to weather or other conditions, appropriate leave credits, or fraction thereof, are to be charged for the specific day on which the Employee couldn’t report to work, reports late or leaves early.
    5. If an Employee can perform their work from home in accordance with SUNY’s Telecommuting Policy, then they do not need to charge accruals.
    6. Sick leave is not an appropriate leave category to be charged for weather events, including public school closures or delays necessitating last minute childcare, and may be subject to medical documentation, if applicable.
  3. Shift to Alternative Instructional Delivery, Cancellation of Classes and/or Declaration of Liberal Leave use
    1. When deemed appropriate, the President, or designee, may shift to alternative instructional delivery (e.g. remote/online classes, alternative class assignments) or may cancel classes,  and may invoke liberal leave use for non-essential employees with proper charge to accruals.
    2. Employees who can accomplish their duties remotely may request supervisory approval to fulfill their work obligation from an alternate work location.          
      1. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that work is completed while at remote work locations. Supervisors may require reports of work activity and/or completion. 
      2. There is no entitlement to this arrangement.
    3. In general, Essential Employees that perform work in grounds, central heating plant, maintenance and custodial, law enforcement, animal care, health services, those with responsibility for laboratory experiments, bus drivers, select administrative Employees who may need to meet administrative deadlines, and other Employees who are essential to maintaining the University’s vital or mission-critical services, may not fulfill their work obligation from an alternate work location.
      1. Given the necessity to provide critical services regardless of weather conditions, Essential Employees should develop alternatives in the event their primary method of travel is affected.
  4. University Closure
    1. State offices and other state facilities, including SUNY campuses, may only be closed by order of the Governor of New York State.
    2. Declarations of a state of Emergency/road closures are not equivalent to the closure of the University.
    3. If the University is closed by a governor’s order, directed early departures are not charged to leave accruals.
    4. Following certain weather emergencies, the New York State Office of Employee Relations may excuse the charge to leave credits for a specific absence, and in such case, accruals will be restored.
  5. Communication
    1. The Campus community should always assume that classes will be held at their regularly scheduled times unless otherwise notified by the University directly.
    2. If changes to instructional delivery or class schedule need to be made, then emergency notifications will be communicated directly by the University through multiple channels:
      1. Text message, voicemail, or email notifications from “UAlbany Alert”.
      2. Web updates.
      3. Social media notifications.
    3. Local government officials, police, and media outlets do not have the authority to close state offices and facilities.