The first snow day of the 2019-20 academic year finally arrived last week, much to the elation of students across all spectrums of the University community. Not only were we graced with a brief period of no class, but also a bountiful opportunity to enjoy the beautiful snow-covered campus we all cherish (and share on social media).
Condition 2, as the University classifies it, is nothing less than a godsend students experience a handful of times each year. But Condition 2 doesn’t just determine when we get out of classes — it also affects the pay and collected vacation hours of thousands of staff members at UNC.
The University classifies weather-related closings by the UNC System’s Adverse Weather and Emergency Events Policy. Condition 2: Suspended Operations is generally what us students want when we hope for a day of no classes. Condition 2 stipulates that faculty and students have their classes cancelled, but also requires “non-mandatory” employees to not report to work. Instead, these employees must use personal leave time for time lost working.
It is not a small group that is affected. Over 8,500 people at UNC fall under the jurisdiction of this rule, a large number of them classified as “non-mandatory.” This means thousands of people, many of whom need pay to support themselves and their families, are penalized for adverse conditions that they cannot control. And although some employees can work remotely to avoid the issue, this is not the case for janitorial, food, waste and other staff whose work can only be done on campus.
In an interview with the DTH in January 2019, Shayna Hill, chairperson of UNC's Employee Forum, spoke on the issue: “We have employees who routinely use their vacation time as people actually should,” she said. “There are people, say the housekeepers for instance, a lot of them have families, you know, in other countries, and they'd like to take longer vacations to go visit their families.”