How does your work handle "snow days"?

Kansas City just had its first snowfall of the season. At work many people called in.

At your place of work how do they handle snow days?

For example I have known places like say medical staff, who were required to be there no matter what. Others were known to even send vehicles to pick up people snowed in. Others let people stay and sleep over or they put people up in nearby hotels.

In some places they just close the office and everyone stays home. Of course many are expected to work from home.

So I’d like to ask, how does your place of work handle “snow days”?

Are you allowed off?

Does your place of work just shut down?

I work at an advertising agency. We actually have a policy in which people are generally permitted to work at home two days a week (which I do), and most of my colleagues with which I work directly on my accounts aren’t located in my office, anyway (so, I’m on conference calls or Skype meetings regularly). Everyone works on laptops, and bringing one’s laptop home with you at night is the norm.

Chicago had a snowstorm last night – not a horrid one, by Chicago standards, but enough to mess up the commute. The office didn’t close, but a lot of us opted to make today a “work at home” day, anyway.

In my three decades of working in Chicago, my place of work has closed down due to weather less than a half-dozen times. And, as noted above, it’s far easier to work at home / remotely now, so even if the office itself were to close, work would still gets done.

I work at a data center for the US Postal Service. So. Rain, sleet, all that good stuff… get to work.

I work for a public water/sewer utility. We used to have a policy that if the state government sent state workers home, then the same would apply to us. I guess they later decided that the state government was too quick to send people home or delay opening state offices, because they subsequently abandoned that policy.

Our current policy is that “everyone at the company is essential personnel.” They don’t care what we have to do to make it to work – even if that means driving in a blizzard. On the other hand, they gave us three additional PTO days (“inclement weather days”), which we can use instead of coming to work (so much for all of us being essential personnel…), so I actually don’t have much of an issue with the policy. Unofficially, we are also allowed to make up any missed time by staying late…but they will NOT allow us to to work at home.

My wife works for the federal government. They used to occasionally shut her office due to bad snowstorms. Now she and most of her coworkers telecommute, so they are expected to work no matter what.

I live in Portland, OR. We usually get a little snow here and there, that melts by midday. Every couple of years we’ll get a good storm that dumps several inches of snow which lasts for a few days or more, and the city quickly descends into chaos. I teach at a community college, and we just shut down when this happens. Better to keep thousands of people off the roads.

NASA had a policy of granting snow leave during the day to personnel who were at work. If you had already taken sick or personal time off that day, you did not get the snow leave. If they declared ahead of time that the next day was a snow day, everyone got it (I think).

During the day they would stagger the early quitting time every 15 minutes to different groups to avoid 3000 people hitting the street at the same time. Of course most people just said the hell with it and left as soon as it was declared.


Snow days (as opposed to days when it’s snowing) are pretty rare where I live. We were told to go home early one day last year ( around 3 pm). I can’t off/hand remember another day in the past several years where we were sent home.

I’m not currently employed, but when I was there was no such thing as a snow day. It’s your responsibility to get to work.

In my entire career my office has only called a snow day once. There is some work I could do from home if I planned ahead for it (I am not set up to work at home and many tasks require access to documents in physical files, etc.) But the one time I had a snow day (as in the office actually told us all not to come in), I couldn’t have done that, either - our cable was knocked out, which meant we had no Internet or phone, either, and most of my work requires one or the other (our case management/forms prep software is Web-based).

And I physically could not have gotten to work that day; we had a 5’ snowdrift blocking the front door, and pickup trucks with plows on the front were literally getting stuck in the snowdrifts on our block in snow up to their hoods. We lived three blocks from he train, which basically always runs, but that time, even the trains were not running because of a derailment.

Other than that, we are always expected to come to work, though people with small children whose schools closed or people in the outlying suburbs with transportation issues sometimes needed to call in. Those who can work from home are generally allowed to, but if you aren’t able to work from home and can’t get to work, you don’t get a freebie snow day; you have to use a vacation day.

No snow days.

On some really bad days, management says you can call in, and the supe’ can’t mark you down for “unexcused” absence.

They will also put people up in hotels with bus transport to and from the hotel.

I live in the arctic, we don’t do snow days.

Where I live, snow that settles is rare - this year we had two bad snowy days, for the first time in five years.

So as it’s so unusual, the city flies into a panic. For one day we all worked from home, and on another, those that could, walked to work.

We don’t have any official ‘snow day’ policy.

I used to be a college prof so finding out if the school was closed was simple even in the pre-WWW days: watch the scrolls on the bottom of a local channel.

Missed classes were not made up, the term was never extended, etc. I don’t recall a closure during finals week so I don’t know how any of the schools planned for that.

(Of course the place where snow was the most likely was also the place where canceling due to snow was the least likely.)

I did often go in when the school was closed to get work done without any interruptions. Seems like only computer folk did that sort of thing then.

I work for a university. We get staff-cancelled days once every couple of years. Typically snowfall has to be at least a foot overnight to get called off. Those are just treated as ‘free days.’ For more normal snowfalls for my position, I’m allowed to use a vacation day with no notice. Sometimes your individual supervisor will let you work from home. To be honest, we don’t tend to get a lot of snow, just slightly more than New York City. I grew up an hour and a half from here where we got 130 inches a year, so down here, it’s really nothing.

We call our customers and let them know there will be delays getting to their location and everything will take much longer once we arrive. Only very rarely have we been unable to actually get to a customer because of snow, and never have ever had a snow day. People want their stuff as soon as possible when they move.

When snow is bad enough (and timed correctly) to mess up the roads for the morning commute, we call a phone number for the current status of our office. If conditions are bad enough, then the facility manager will have updated the recording, letting people know that they are allowed to come in one (sometimes two) hour(s) later than their usual arrival time, with no charge to their annual leave account; this gives employees time to shovel their driveway and/or slog through a slower-than-usual commute. Employees are allowed to arrive later (or not come in at all), but they will be charged annual leave if they choose to do so.

On very rare occasions, when mid-day snowfall is expected to severely snarl the evening commute, we are allowed to go home early without being charged annual leave.

True “snow days”, on which our workplace closes altogether, are extremely rare, maybe once every 3-4 years.

I work at a container terminal, we load and unload containers from the big cargo ships, and transfer them to a rail yard or truck for delivery to their final destination.

With heavy snows, we close the terminal entirely, it’s simply too unsafe to move 20 ton steel boxes with low visibility and slippery conditions. On those days, the office staff stays home as well.

Our office is open to the public, many of whom travel some distance to get here, so a lot of thought goes into deciding to close. Also, there are 5 offices widely dispersed over a wide metro area. A decision has to be made whether if one closes, all close.

I’ve lived/worked in federal offices in the Chicago area for the past 30+ years. WAG, offices have closed for weather an average of 1-2x a year.

This year they added a new twist. Most people work at home at least occasionally. The new rule is that if you work at home and the office is closed, you have to work at home or be charged with personal leave - EVEN IF the day the office is closed is not your usual work-at-home day. Just a little odd, suggesting you ought to bring your work laptop home regularly just in case…

I work for the state and we have two versions. If the weather is really terrible, the governor may close state offices in advance (which means non-essential employees neither come in nor use leave)That’s happened fewer than 10 days in the past 24 years. More often. A decision is made after the fact to reinstate leave to people who used it for weather-related reasons.
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I work at a nonprofit organization. Its policy is that if a particular school district in Denver is closed, so is my office. If that school district is closed, chances are that most if not all districts are closed as well.

My wife works from home 90 percent of the time; one of the few drawbacks of that, she’s discovered, is that there’s no such thing as a snow day.