Inclement Weather and Emergency Closure
The State's Inclement Weather policy seeks to establish uniform procedures for the closure of state offices and the treatment of employee absences from work during periods of inclement weather and other emergencies.
Whenever it is determined that the health or safety of citizens, clients, or employees would be placed at risk or that conditions or events prevent performance of regular operations, services or responsibilities assigned to a state agency, closure of an agency or a subsection thereof may be deemed necessary. The governor shall make decisions regarding the conditions affecting the closure of all agencies statewide or within a geographic region. The heads of the Department of Administrative Services, Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Department of Transportation and Department of Public Safety will confer, in situations regarding inclement weather, and make recommendations to the governor regarding agency closures statewide or within a geographic region. Decisions regarding conditions affecting a single agency or subsection thereof shall be made at the discretion of the agency head.
Communication of Closure
If inclement weather or other emergency conditions affecting all agencies statewide or within a geographic region develop during the workday, agency heads will be notified of any authorized changes to normal work hours. If such conditions develop during the night and warrant delayed opening or official closing, official announcements will be made by the governor through the following media outlets:
In Metropolitan Atlanta
Television Broadcast Station WSB (ABC) Channel 2, and Radio Stations WSB AM 750 and WSB 95.5 FM shall serve as official notification stations.
In Areas Outside Metropolitan Atlanta
Local radio stations that are part of the Georgia Public Radio Network (GPB) will carry official announcements. Agencies with operations outside the Atlanta metropolitan area are encouraged to identify appropriate network member stations in the areas of need and communicate specific tuning information (or other instructions, such as a phone number to call) to employees in those areas.
Announcements will be made as soon as possible following any decision to close state operations in any area. Employees should be directed to listen to one of the above stations for information about alternate work hours or office closing, and should be reminded that announcements on other stations may not be accurate. In the absence of official notification of delayed opening or office closure, employees are expected to report to work on time or contact their supervisor or other appropriate agency personnel as directed by their agency head.
Agency heads are responsible for determining the appropriate method of communicating closures that affect only their agency or a subsection thereof.
Treatment of Absences
When an employee is prevented from reporting to work or remaining at work because of the closure of the agency or subsection thereof by action of the governor or agency head, as applicable, such absence is considered to be with pay and not charged to any accrued leave or compensatory time.
When a closure by the governor or agency head has not been announced and an employee must be absent due to individual circumstances, the absence shall be charged to available leave or compensatory time or shall be unpaid. The agency head, at personal discretion, may permit employees to make up the time lost from work in accordance with rule 16 of the Rules of the State Personnel Board.
Employees who are not directly affected by the conditions warranting closure, or who are not scheduled to work during such times, shall not accrue any right to, and shall not be compensated in any manner for any absence that may be authorized for the employees directly affected.
State Personnel Board rules are silent on the treatment of absences for teleworking employees. Agency heads may presume that employees with established teleworking schedules that are scheduled to telework at an alternate worksite on the day of a declared closure are not directly affected by conditions warranting closure of the normal work site, absent evidence to the contrary. Alternatively, agency heads may choose to establish a written internal policy indicating closures that impact on-site employees shall apply to teleworking employees as well.
Essential employees are individuals whose duties become even more important during inclement weather or other emergency situations, and who must report to work despite state office closures. Employees are designated essential or deemed essential due to unusual circumstances within the discretion of the agency head.
Employees will be compensated in accordance with Rules, Regulations, and Procedures Governing Working Hours, the statewide policy jointly issued by the Office of Planning and Budget and the Department of Administrative Services referenced above.