Questions & Answers
- When the UW suspends operations, it does not suspend essential services. What employees perform “essential” services and are required to report to work during a suspension of operations?
- Employees in positions designated as performing an essential service are required to report to work when the UW suspends regular operations. This includes all employees at UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center, as well as many positions in the UW Police Department, Facilities Services, and Housing and Food Services. In addition, positions in other departments are designated as performing an essential service on a position by position basis.
Vice Presidents, Deans, and other senior officers or their designees, identify those units and employees within their organizations responsible for providing essential services in order to ensure operational continuity. Employees in positions designated as essential receive notice of this designation from their supervisor.
- Must employees in essential positions report to work when operations are suspended?
- Yes. Employees in essential positions are required to report to work when the UW suspends regular operations unless their supervisor or administrator has given them advance approval to telework during suspended operations. Employees in essential positions who have difficulty commuting to work should contact their supervisors.
- What pay rate do essential services employees receive when working during periods of suspended operations?
- Essential services employees receive their regular rate of pay for work performed during suspended operations.
- Employees in our unit perform essential services and are required to report to work during suspended operations. Can employees who perform essential services be absent from work during suspended operations because of a child care emergency, and if so, how are they compensated?
- Employees who perform essential services but who experience a child care emergency are entitled to be absent and use leave according to the provisions of their employment program. (See the appropriate collective bargaining agreement, civil service rules, or professional staff program, as applicable.)
Making Up Time
- Why do classified staff and overtime eligible professional staff in positions that are not designated essential have to make up the time missed or use paid leave if they have been told to stay home during suspended operations? That doesn't seem fair.
- The University's suspended operations policy strives to be as equitable as possible when conditions do not permit normal operations. A suspension of operations does not create an extra paid "holiday" for employees who do not work. This is why employees who did not work must use paid leave or make up time missed.
- Can an employee in a position that is designated as essential, but who can't get in to work during a period of suspended operations, make up the time missed?
- No. Employees in positions designated as essential are expected to report to working during suspended operations. If an employee is not able to report to work, normal leave process apply. e.g. The employee must call in to report being absent from work, provide a reason for the absence and use whatever form of leave is available and appropriate based on the circumstances.
- Why is it that overtime exempt professional staff do not have to make up time missed during suspended operations?
- Overtime exempt professional staff are held accountable for getting work done regardless of the amount of time it takes to do it. If a period of suspended operations interrupts work, then the professional staff employee needs to work as much as is required to catch up on work that may have been missed. Overtime exempt professional staff do not receive pay for additional time that is worked to meet commitments.
- For employees who are allowed to use annual leave, compensatory time, leave without pay, or make up missed work time, who decides which option is selected, the employee or the supervisor?
- It is up to the employee to choose whether to use leave or to make up time missed during suspended operations.
- When an employee chooses to make up time missed during suspended operations, who determines when the employee will make up the missed work time?
- The employee can propose a plan for making up the missed work time, but the plan must be consistent with the needs of the unit, must meet employee safety standards, and be approved by the supervisor. If the proposed make up plan is not consistent with unit needs, the employee and supervisor should work together to identify a work make up plan that best meets unit and employee needs.
- Are classified staff and overtime eligible professional staff who choose to make up time missed during suspended operations placed on leave without pay until the time is made up?
- No. Allowing employees to make up time missed during suspended operations is an option that prevents the employee from having to be placed on leave without pay because the employee either does not have, or chooses not to use annual leave, personal holiday (full day absence only) or compensatory time to use to cover missed work time. If the employee does not make up the time within 90 days or charge it to appropriate leave balances, the employee is obligated to pay back to the University, as an overpayment, any hours not made up.
- Does the 90 day period for making up time missed refer to calendar days or work days?
- The makeup period is 90 calendar days following the period of suspended operations.
- Why do most full time, overtime eligible classified and professional staff get credited with overtime when they work extra hours to make up time missed during suspended operations while employees who are actually required to be at work do not?
- UW labor contracts and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act determine when overtime eligible employees must get paid overtime when working extra hours. The University must follow these requirements regardless of the reason that extra hours are worked.
Probationary Classified Staff
- Probationary classified employees are not normally eligible to use annual leave they accrue. Can probationary employees who do not perform an essential service use accrued annual leave to cover time missed during suspended operations?
- In order to charge the time off to a particular type of paid leave, the employee must otherwise be eligible to use the leave. Probationary classified employees who do not perform essential services and miss time due to suspended operations must either make up time missed or take leave without pay.
Working During Suspended Operations
- Can an overtime exempt professional staff employee who was scheduled to be on paid leave for the period of suspended operations withdraw the leave request and just receive regular pay for the days away from work?
- No. A suspension of non essential operations does not create a "holiday" for overtime exempt professional staff, as the general expectation for work to be completed remains unchanged. When an employee is on paid leave work expectations are normally adjusted consistent with the amount of time the employee will be off work.
- During suspended operations can an employee report to work if he/she is not in a position that performs essential services?
- When the University suspends operations it is for safety or for other equally important operational reasons. Therefore employees who are not required to report to work during suspended operations should not come to work.
- If the University suspends operations and an employee who does not perform an essential service comes into the office and works, does the employee get paid?
- The University is required to pay an employee for the work performed, but the employee should be advised that they should not come to work unless they are in a position that performs an essential service.
- During suspended operations, can a supervisor allow an employee to work from home?
- Depending on the nature and duration of the operational suspension, if the supervisor determines that the employee has meaningful work to perform, the supervisor may allow the employee to work from home, i.e., telework.
- How does the Suspended Operations policy affect staff who are scheduled to telework?
- Staff who normally telework should discuss their work situation with their supervisor to determine if the suspension of operations affects their work. If they are able to accomplish work during periods of suspended operations, they should be encouraged to do so.
- Can an overtime exempt professional staff employee who was scheduled to be on paid leave during the period of suspended operations withdraw the leave request and receive regular pay for the days away from work?
- No. A suspension of non essential operations does not create a "holiday" for overtime exempt professional staff, as the expectation for work to get done remains unchanged. When an employee is on paid leave work expectations are normally adjusted consistent with the amount of time the employee will be off work.
- How does the University notify employees and managers about this policy?
- Each year HR sends an email reminder to managers and administrators.