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Category Human Resources
Type Guideline
Approved by Director, Human Resources
Date Guideline Took Effect 1 May 2005
Last approved revision 17 May 2018
Sponsor Director of Human Resources
Responsible officer HR Manager, Promotions & Remuneration

Please note that compliance with University Guidelines is expected in normal circumstances, and any deviation from Guidelines – which should only be in exceptional circumstances – needs to be justifiable.


To provide a standard practice norm for staff attendance or non-attendance at work during adverse weather conditions. These guidelines in no way detract from any provision in legislation or contractual agreement.

Organisational scope

These guidelines apply to all University staff.


1. In the event of adverse weather conditions (such as snow, ice or floods) it is expected that the University will remain open and staff are expected to undertake all reasonable and safe steps to attend and work. It is expected that any staff member who is prevented by adverse weather conditions from getting to work or who will be significantly delayed, will, in all cases, phone their Supervisor/HOD/Dean at the earliest opportunity to explain their absence.

  1. Staff who are unable to attend work because public transport is not operating, and they are not able to walk (because the distance is unreasonable) or drive (because the roads are impassable), will not have a deduction taken from their annual leave.
  2. Staff are expected to come to work as soon as conditions permit (for example, once buses are operating after snow), otherwise the day should be treated as an annual leave day or as leave without pay.
  3. Staff who do not attend work, in a situation where the Supervisor assesses that they could reasonably have done so, albeit later than normal, will take the day as annual leave or leave without pay.
  4. Staff who are at work and feel that they live in a location where it may be difficult to get home if the weather deteriorates, may leave work with the agreement of their Supervisor/HOD/Dean without any deduction of annual leave.
  5. Staff who have dependants who must be cared for, and where that situation has arisen because of adverse weather conditions, may take domestic leave, this being a debit against their sick leave.
  6. If a dependant child's school opens late, the staff member will be expected to arrive at work as soon as practicable after school starts and no leave deduction will be made.
  7. Where possible, staff should anticipate an adverse event and make alternative travel or work arrangements.

2. Among the key factors for Supervisors/HODs/Deans to consider in determining whether staff absences are appropriate are:

  1. Is it safe to get to work?
  2. Are the Northern and/or Southern motorways closed (in Dunedin)?
  3. Are the buses running?
  4. Are early childcare institutions and schools closed/closing?
  5. The degree of effort exercised by staff and whether they have made attempts to make alternative travel or work arrangements.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Health & Safety Policy

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact the

HR Manager, Promotions & Remuneration

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