Know Your Rights During Winter Weather

With a few months of winter to go we have already experienced freezing temperatures, icy roads, and snow storms across the state. This has led to office closures and hazardous travel conditions. It has also generated great questions from our NAPE/AFSCME members. When can you be forced to use vacation leave? And when can I request to work remotely? We’ve included three common situations below to help you stay informed about what to do when bad weather strikes in the winter. 

Your office is closed due to bad weather:

If you travel to the office when there’s bad weather and the building is closed (for example: completely inaccessible due to snow drifts, power outages, etc.) you should either be placed in a “ready to work” status or allowed to work from another accessible office location, including your home if you have been previously approved to do so. When an office is closed, you are not required to use earned vacation leave or compensatory time, however, you can do so if you choose.

You would prefer to work remotely on a day with bad weather:

If you are approved to work from home on certain days of the week and bad weather arises on a day you are not scheduled to work from home, you should be allowed to work remotely on that day as well. It would be unreasonable on the severe weather policy to require the use of leave if you have already been approved to work from home. Make your request clearly and in writing to your supervisor, that you are approved to work from home and bad weather is preventing you from commuting to the office. You must be reasonable in your assessment of the weather. 

Your supervisor wants you to come into the office with bad weather:

If your office is open and accessible and you choose not to go into the office due to weather, it is true that you need to use vacation leave, compensatory time, or leave without pay for that day if you’re not already approved/able to work from home.

If you have specific questions or concerns about dealing with winter weather, or any situation in the workplace, feel free to contact our office at 402.486.3911 or