Essential Service Protocols

[Policy] Last Updated: February 2018

In the event that severe weather or emergency conditions are declared by the university, an emergency closure may be declared and only designated “essential service” personnel will be required to report.  “Essential services” are those designated by the divisional vice president and generally defined as critical to the maintenance of operations, public safety, and student services during a given emergency situation. The following summarizes NIU practices and policies concerning time and benefit reporting in relation to an emergency closure. Provisions of collective bargaining agreements will be applicable with respect to negotiated staff.

Pay and timesheet protocols relating to the severe weather/emergency closures:

  1. Hourly paid Operating Staff employees scheduled to work, who did not report due to the closure or who elected to report to or stay at work on a voluntary basis, will be paid for the number of hours scheduled at their normal rate of pay. These employees should record their normally scheduled work hours on the Hourly Time Sheet.
  2. Hourly paid Operating Staff employees in designated essential service positions (authorized and advised to report for duty during an emergency closure), who worked during the emergency closure period, will receive compensatory time credit at the rate of 1.5 times the hours worked plus the applicable normal rates of pay (including overtime, if any).  Employees in this category, who were required to report for duty should record their normally scheduled work hours on the hourly time sheet and also record the hours actually worked as compensatory time, during the period (compensatory time does not apply to overtime). The Hourly Time Sheet will automatically calculate the compensatory time at 1.5 for the actual hours worked. These employees should also indicate in the comments section of the time sheet “Essential service employee working during closure”.
  3. For instances in which an employee is working overtime hours during the closure, the employee will be compensated at the appropriate overtime rate of pay, plus, compensatory time off calculated and applied at the straight time rate. Employees in this category who are required to report for duty should record their normally scheduled (regular) work hours and overtime hours (paid OT) on the Hourly Time Sheet and also record ½ the number of overtime hours actually worked as compensatory time at double time during the closure.  The Hourly Time Sheet will automatically calculate the compensatory time by multiplying the hours times two creating compensatory time at straight time. 
  4. Salaried employees scheduled to work, who did not leave at the time the closure was declared, will receive their normal rate of pay. Salaried employees in designated essential service positions who worked during the emergency closure period will receive their regular rate of pay. Compensatory time does not apply to salaried positions. No separate entries for the closure period will be required for the Salaried Employee Benefit Usage Report.
  5. Employees approved to utilize sick leave, vacation, or other applicable paid leave benefits at the time of the closure period will receive their regular pay with time charged to the appropriate benefit.
  6. Extra Help and Student employees are paid only for hours worked during the closure period and are not eligible for compensatory time. Extra Help and Students who work during the closure period should record the hours worked on the Hourly Time Sheet and indicate “Worked during Closure” in the comments section of the time sheet. Student employees cannot be required to work in a severe weather situation.

Essential positions are those designated by the Divisional Vice Presidents for various emergency or administrative closure circumstances. These designations are periodically updated and are subject to modification or review in relation to specific closure events.