1.08 Inclement Weather

Policy No. 1.08

The student experience at Berklee is rich and multidimensional. State-of-the-art facilities for learning are provided on the Boston, New York, and Valencia campuses. A wide range of services, activities, and events support the needs of our students, who come to us from around the world. In order to consistently provide an outstanding experience for every student, Berklee operations will continue as usual unless severe inclement weather conditions or an unexpected event prompts Berklee to delay its opening or temporarily close its operations.

The procedures outlined in this policy support Berklee’s mission of providing our community with a learning and working environment that is safe and comfortable. This policy is applicable in short-term, temporary, inclement weather situations or similar short-term emergency situations, and is not intended to apply to any long-term emergency. Berklee reserves the right to use its discretion in the application and administration of this policy, depending upon the specific situation that may arise.


  • Inclement weather: This term refers to severe rain, sleet, snow, a hurricane, etc. All members of our community are encouraged to use good judgment regarding personal safety in deciding to report to work and/or to remain at work during severe, inclement weather. 
  • State-of-emergency conditions: A state of emergency exists when state or federal officials prohibit most people from traveling to work, usually because of serious weather conditions or some other form of disaster. 
  • Snow emergency: Local cities or towns may declare weather-related parking restrictions and snow emergencies in order to alleviate storm-related problems and to help facilitate service to local residents. Such designations do not constitute a state of emergency. 

Procedures for Closing

Designated Delayed Opening, Early Release, or Closing

Depending upon the severity of the circumstances, a decision may be made to delay opening, suspend operations early, or temporarily close Berklee. Leaders from Academic Affairs, Public Safety, Human Resources, and Student Affairs comprise Berklee's Inclement Weather Committee. Together this committee determines whether or not Berklee will remain open or revise its scheduled operations. Notification to community members occurs as soon as is feasible. In cases of inclement weather at the Boston campus, this decision will be based on the Boston-area weather forecast, the City of Boston's decision to invoke its state-of-emergency policy, any decisions made by the Commonwealth or official federal agency, and/or any other relevant factors, including information gathered from other local higher education institutions and in consideration for the safety of our students, faculty and staff. Extreme weather conditions in Valencia and NYC will be assessed by the Valencia and NYC administration, and determinations regarding closures will be made in Valencia and NYC, in consultation with Boston as appropriate.

As necessary, the senior director of public safety/chief of police will advise the emergency management manager to activate the Berklee Emergency Notification System (BENS) and send a message. 

When Berklee is closed due to severe weather, Berklee strives to maintain continuity of operations as best as possible. Therefore, non-emergency staff members are expected to work remotely to the fullest extent possible during designated closings, recognizing that technology and other factors may, at times, make this difficult.

Tools are available to help staff continue their work remotely when inclement weather–related events interrupt our regular daily work routines. A complete list of supported tools can be found at berklee.edu/technology-resources/service-catalog (login required). For more information on off-campus network access or to request access, please visit Off-Campus Network Access (login required).

Emergency Staff 

In the event that Berklee designates a serious weather-related situation that alters regular operations on campus, certain functions essential to student life and safety will continue without interruption. Departments that are required to remain open and the level of staffing needed will depend upon the type and severity of the situation. Each senior vice president and vice president will determine whether or not their staff members are designated as emergency staff members. Emergency staff members are individuals who must be on site to carry out Berklee's operations and ensure student safety and wellbeing. 

Emergency staff members are expected to report to work and remain at work as long as necessary. A senior vice president and vice president may elect not to declare any staff members in their department as emergency staff, depending on the department's responsibilities. 

The current officially designated emergency staff are as follows: 

  • Public Safety: lieutenants/officers in charge, police officers, dispatchers, etc.
  • Physical Plant: master electricians, senior HVAC mechanics, HVAC technicians
  • Housing: staff members as determined by the associate vice president, student affairs, in consultation with the Residential and Campus Life colleagues.

Evening and Weekend Hours 

The Boston campus has spaces that are frequently used for activities throughout the evening, overnight, and during weekend hours. These include practice rooms, rehearsal spaces, ensemble and lab rooms, general classrooms, music technology labs and recording studios, concert venues, the libraries and Creative Technology Center, the Loft, Student Activities, club meeting rooms, and the 171 Massachusetts Avenue and 25 Fordham Road practice facilities. 

On days that the campus is closed due to severe weather or for other reasons, members of Berklee's Inclement Weather Committee shall determine whether or not Berklee will remain open or revise its scheduled operations for evening and weekend hours, and will notify employees as soon as possible. Updates will be communicated on the Berklee website.  

Procedures for Pay

Berklee Remains Open

If Berklee remains open, standard pay policies and procedures will remain in effect. 

In certain sudden or unplanned instances, the senior director of Public Safety/chief of police may expect Public Safety staff who are not normally scheduled to work to report to work in order to assist with efforts to protect the campus and ensure the safety of the community while it remains open for operations.

If Berklee remains open and a staff member makes their own determination to stay home, report to work late, or leave work early, the following pay practices will apply:

  • A staff member who cannot or does not report to work must notify their supervisor of the absence and use available accrued PTO time if meaningful Berklee work approved by the employee’s supervisor cannot be accomplished from the person’s home or from a distance. Staff members who do not have any accrued PTO time will be unpaid. 
  • A staff member who expects to be late to work or plans to leave early because of inclement weather or any other situation should notify their manager. Non-exempt staff members will be paid regular time for all hours worked.

In certain rare circumstances, individual department vice presidents may make a determination to release staff early even if Berklee remains open. In such rare instances, staff will be paid their normal, regular pay for the remainder of their scheduled workday.  

Delayed Opening, Early Release, or Berklee Closing

For emergency non-exempt staff members, the following apply:

  • Designated emergency non-exempt staff members who are required to be on campus working during a delayed opening, early release, or Berklee closing will be paid two times their normal rate of pay for working their regular schedule during the Berklee-designated altered schedule of operations. 
  • Designated emergency non-exempt staff members will be paid two times their normal hourly rate for hours worked beyond their regular schedule or beyond 40 hours in one week during the Berklee-designated delayed opening, early release, or Berklee closing.

Emergency non-exempt staff should enter their time in Workday in a timely manner to reflect all hours worked during a delayed opening, early release, or Berklee closing.

For emergency exempt staff members, the following apply:

  • Managers and other exempt-level staff members will not receive additional compensation and will be paid regular pay in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.  

Note: Following an emergency situation, a department senior vice president and vice president may decide to provide emergency exempt staff members an alternative day off, within 30 days, as compensatory time for their extraordinary efforts during the emergency situation. 

For non-emergency staff members, the following apply:

  • Non-emergency staff members who report to work during a designated delayed opening, early release, or closing will not receive additional compensation for doing so, unless requested to work at those times by the appropriate supervisor. 
  • Non-emergency staff who previously planned and scheduled a PTO day shall use their PTO time during the designated late opening, early release, or Berklee closing day. In these unusual and particular situations, the staff member and their supervisor have the option to reconsider the PTO arrangement for the period of late opening, early release, or Berklee closing day to determine if an alternate and mutually agreeable approach is possible. The final decision about any alternate approach rests with the supervisor. 

Berklee reserves the right to amend, suspend, or cancel this policy at any time, with or without notice. Employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement will be governed by the terms and conditions of the current contract.


December 2022