Adverse Weather Policy Update

You are here

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Temporary revisions to Lehigh's adverse weather procedures developed during the pandemic are becoming permanent. 

As Lehigh adapted to the pandemic and with the growth of flexible workplace policies on campus, our faculty and staff procedures during inclement weather events have evolved. For the past two academic years, we have followed a temporary procedure with scenarios that included the possibility of operating the university on a remote teaching/learning/working schedule. The university will now make these changes permanent by revising its Absence Due to Adverse Weather Conditions policy.  Look for a final revised version of the official policy later this year.

The following four scenarios will be exercised during adverse weather events:

  1. The university remains open. Faculty and staff members are asked to report and classes will be held.

  2. The university will operate on a modified schedule. Either a delayed start time or an early dismissal time (or both) will be announced.

  3. The university operates on a remote teaching/learning/working schedule. Faculty and staff members are asked to teach and work remotely, where possible. Supervisors are advised to demonstrate flexibility if staff working remotely need to attend to storm-related home responsibilities. Essential Services Staff members report to work on campus as normal.

  4. The university is closed and classes are canceled. Only Essential Services Staff members report to work on campus as normal. For all other employees, this is considered a University Excused Absence and paid at the normal rate.

Please Note: Adverse Weather Procedure scenarios are distinct from Flexplace arrangements. You do not need to have a Flexplace arrangement in order to work from home when an Adverse Weather scenario is announced.

In making these changes permanent, we are also addressing practices related to the small number of employees who are neither Essential Services Staff nor able to perform their duties remotely. Under the revised permanent policy, such employees will have the choice to either come to campus to work or to be absent and then choose from one of the following options:

  • Nonexempt employees who are not working because of weather conditions may either make up the lost time or charge the time lost to available floating holiday or vacation balances or take unpaid time off. The lost time should be made up in the same workweek whenever possible. In all cases, the lost time may be made up only in a manner that does not result in overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

  • Exempt employees are not subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act and typically report time off in whole or half-day increments. Exempt staff members who are not working because of weather conditions must charge the time lost to available floating holiday or vacation balances.

Adverse Weather Staff Classifications: Are You Essential?

The university’s adverse weather policy classifies employees into one of three Adverse Weather Staff Classifications: 

  • Essential Services Staff (ESS) are required to report to campus and remain on campus during inclement weather and other emergency situations. They are defined as those needed to deliver student services and maintain campus facilities, campus safety, and security. These staff members ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our students given that Lehigh is primarily a residential university.
  • Instructional Staff (IS) includes exempt and nonexempt staff members needed in order to hold instruction.
  • Non-Instructional Staff (NIS) includes nonexempt and exempt staff members who do not directly support class instruction and are not essential to ensuring health, safety, and well-being of students.

Unsure of your category? Your Position Description (PD) now includes your classification. Here’s an example of what it looks like in your PD 

 Learn how to access your PD in the PageUp system here.



Timing of Decision and Announcement

Facilities and the Provost will make every effort to make a decision and communicate it to the campus community in advance, by approximately 6:00 pm the day before a predicted storm. In addition to weather predictions, the decision-making process will also take into consideration announced closures of local community schools and businesses. There may still be circumstances when a decision made the day before will need to be modified, particularly if a storm is more severe than had been anticipated. 

Be prepared! If there is a chance of inclement weather that could impact your ability to come to campus, bring your remote working tools home with you the night before.

Hawk Watch and Other Notification Methods

Remember, Hawk Watch is the best place to get up-to-date information on campus closures and other emergency situations. Employees can also access updated information through the university’s newsline at 610-758-NEWS (6397). During Adverse Weather events, the University status will also be displayed on the Inside Lehigh website.

If the university curtails administrative operations or cancels classes, an announcement will be made on local radio stations, on WFMZ-TV (Channel 69), and on the WFMZ website. 

For more information on the Absence Due to Adverse Weather Conditions policy, please contact Lori Claudio at