Policy change reverses NC State snow day
Posted January 29, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — Employees of North Carolina State University got an email last Thursday, just before snow and ice socked the Triangle:
Classes canceled for Friday, it said. Non-essential employees should stay home.
The email echoed exhortations from Gov. Pat McCrory, who issued a state of emergency and asked that people stay off the roads.
One N.C. State employee who followed that advice is angry now at a policy update that will require him to use a vacation day. The employee asked not to be identified because he's worried complaining will cost him his job.
Before the storm, the school's bad weather policy read, in part, "Regular employees whose presence is not required will not be docked pay for work hours missed due to official closing or late opening -- nor will they be required to make up the work time or report such time as annual or accrued leave."
This week, N.C. State sent out an update, referencing a policy of the University of North Carolina system that requires that employees use paid time off if they don't come to work on a snow day.
The employee said, had he known the UNC system policy would be enforced, he would have "made more of an effort to try to get to work" during Friday's snow.
"If we had notice, I would be more understanding," he said. "But there was no notice. It was sprung on us ... after everybody had made their decisions. We can't go back and work those hours. We're stuck."
Employees at UNC-Chapel Hill had that option. Before the snow fell, they got an email reminder of the new policy.
In a written statement, N.C. State spokesman Fred Hartman said his university thought campuses had flexibility on when to implement the policy. But after the storm, system leaders cracked down and said the policy was retroactive to Jan. 1.
The retroactive policy change also included changing the status of the N.C. State campus on Friday, Jan. 22, from closed to open.
Joni Worthington, a spokeswoman for the UNC system, said, "There are strict limitations on the closure of state entities, including UNC campuses, and accounting for missed work time, and we are bound to abide by them.
"While the policy is specific to the UNC system, it is consistent with adverse weather policies applicable to employees across state government agencies."
Hartman acknowledged the inconvenience to N.C. State employees.