Staffing During Weather Disruptions at UBC – FAQs

Please read these FAQs in order to help you prepare staff in your unit for winter weather disruptions at UBC. If you have any questions once you have read this document, contact your HR Advisor.

Please click on any of the questions below to expand the answers.

1. What is the official university policy regarding the impact of extreme weather on UBC?

The official policy is Policy SC5 – Snow (formerly Policy #68).

2. How do I know if the university has curtailed classes/services?

Check https://www.ubc.ca.

Employees should check https://www.ubc.ca regularly for updates when there is extreme weather. The UBC website is the authoritative source of information and will give the most accurate information as to the status of the university. The website will state whether or not classes/services have been curtailed.

Cancellation of classes, curtailment of services, or a statement about non-essential services being limited are not a closure.

During extreme weather, the website is generally updated at 6:00 a.m. and again in the afternoon. It may also be updated during the day if there are deteriorating conditions.

There is also additional information located at  https://www.hr.ubc.ca/faculty-staff-resources/winter-weather-conditions/.

3. Who makes the decision to curtail classes/services?

On behalf of the President and Vice-Chancellor, the Vice-Provost & Associate Vice-President, Enrolment & Academic Facilities, will make the decision after consultation with designated individuals across the campus.

4. What does ‘curtailment of services’ mean?

It means that the university is operating at a reduced service level and has made the decision to cancel some or all classes, some or all exams, and/or some services.

5. What does ‘essential services’ mean?

Administrative heads of unit must consider what is essential every year prior to the commencement of extreme weather.  Essential services in the context of extreme weather conditions are those services that are needed to ensure the safety, security, welfare, and health of the community, property, and research and certain operational activities of the university. Once a manager has determined what the essential work is, they must determine which positions and staff are needed to do this work. Specific questions should be directed to HR Advisory Services.

6. What are the expectations of employees identified as essential?

Employees required for essential services will be expected to attend work.

There are specific provisions in the CUPE 2950 collective agreement regarding when to determine which positions are deemed essential. Please contact HR Advisory Services to discuss those positions you deem essential.

7. What are the expectations of employees who are not deemed as essential

Non-essential employees are expected to attend work if possible. Non-essential employees may choose to stay home only after making arrangements with their administrative head of unit or their manager about making up the time (if scheduling permits), taking a vacation day, working from home, or taking a day off without pay. There may be specific collective agreement terms that may apply, and managers can consult with their HR Advisory Services contact.

The CUPE 2950 Collective Agreement has specific provisions related to this. Please see question 11 and contact HR Advisory Services should you have employees who are members of CUPE 2950.

8. If services are curtailed but my staff cannot make it in because of the commute, do they get paid?

If employees receive approval to telecommute, they will be paid as they are considered at work and performing the duties of their job. Employees who are not able to telecommute must seek specific direction from their administrative head of unit or manager. Potential options are to allow employees to use banked time, vacation, or make up the lost time on another day.  Alternatively, employees may elect to take an unpaid leave for the day.

The CUPE 2950 Collective Agreement has specific provisions related to this. Please see question 11 and contact HR Advisory Services should you have employees who are members of CUPE 2950.

Please note that normally unionized staff are not able to work from home.

9. Can I send my staff home if it seems like the weather is getting worse throughout the day?

If the Vice-Provost makes the decision part way through the day to curtail classes/services, then the administrative head of unit has the authority to send non-essential staff home early without loss of pay.

If classes/services are not curtailed mid-day but your non-essential staff are concerned about their commute because of worsening weather, it is important to respond appropriately to those concerns by exercising appropriate managerial authority to the specific circumstances. It is reasonable to allow an employee to leave early based on their ability to make up the time (if scheduling permits), take vacation, work from home, or take part of the day off without pay.

There may be specific collective agreement terms that may apply and managers can consult with their HR Advisory Services contact.

If you are concerned that your actions are setting a precedent for future similar situations, please consult with HR Advisory Services as above.

10. Some of my employees came in and others were not able to because of their commute – should I be doing something extra for those who were able to work?

We can and should recognize our employees’ efforts. Exercising appropriate managerial authority specific to the circumstances is important. Should you wish to do something more than provide nominal recognition, please consult with HR Advisory Services.

11. I have employees in my unit who are members of CUPE Local 2950, what do I need to consider?

There are unique provisions in the CUPE Local 2950 collective agreement with respect to the Official University Closure. Specifically, Article 13.01 and the Letter of Agreement regarding Article 13.01 allows for a department to make a decision about curtailing their services and gives criteria on which to base the decision, including the Vice-Provost’s direction regarding the curtailment of service.  In the event a decision is made to curtail services, only the employees affected by this decision will be paid if they were normally required to attend work during that time.  We encourage you to reach out to HR Advisory Services in these circumstances.

If you have employees in your unit who are members of CUPE Local 2950 and they are deemed essential, it is important you contact HR Advisory Services.

12. I have employees in my unit who are members of AAPS, what do I need to consider?

As per Policy 68, management and professional employees who are deemed to be non-essential are expected to attend work if the university has curtailed services. However, they may choose to stay home once they have made arrangements with their administrative head of unit or manager to do one of the following: work from home, make up the time, take a vacation day, or take the day off without pay.

13. I have employees in my unit who are members of CUPE Local 116, what do I need to consider?

Article 24.04 of the Collective Agreement requires us to provide a leave without loss of pay in circumstances where work is not required due to weather. Therefore, if a unit is closed due to inclement weather such that the employee is not able to work, irrespective of whether they attend, they will be paid their normal rate of pay. This does not apply to situations where the work is available and the employee is unable to attend.

If there is a curtailment of services and employees are deemed essential, they are required to attend work. If they are deemed non-essential, they are expected to attend work and if they choose to stay home once they may make arrangements with their manager to do one of the following: work from home, make up the time, take a vacation day, or take the day off without pay.

14. I have employees in my unit who are not a member of a union or association, what do I need to consider?

As per Policy SC5, if there is a curtailment of services, employees who are not a member of a union or an association and who are deemed to be non-essential are expected to attend work; however, they may make arrangements with their manager to do one of the following: work from home, make up the time, take a vacation day, or take the day off without pay, if there are concerns or safety issues regarding commuting into work.

If there is a curtailment of services and employees are deemed essential, they are required to attend work.