Utilities Emergencies

Last Updated 01/03
Applies to Administrators and Staff


In the event of a power failure, water emergency, or serious telecommunications disruption, the University maintains all services that can function safely and reasonably. If it is necessary to close any unit(s) of the University during such emergencies, it is University policy to reopen units when three or more work hours remain after the utility is restored.


Communication of Utilities Emergencies

The University recognizes the importance of communication to staff on all shifts when unexpected and extended outages occur. Therefore, announcements are made in as timely a manner as possible based on the particular circumstances involved. If the utility emergency results in the decision to close the University, whether during standard office hours (Monday through Friday) or non-standard hours (evenings, weekends or holidays), communication is initiated by the Office of Human Resources, the Office of News and Information, or by the specific department or area affected depending upon the scope of the failure. Communication will be made as appropriate through the use of local media, voice mail and e-mail messages to department heads, telephone calls to key University departments, and announcement via the Notre Dame web site home page.

If a decision to close the University occurs during work hours, individual departments should notify all affected employees in their reporting structure.

Utility Emergencies Where Adequate Lighting Exists

  • Staff working in these areas should shift to duties that are non-utility dependent.
  • Work should continue only as safe work practices permit. Daylight, flashlights, or emergency light sources may be used. CANDLES, OIL LANTERNS, OR OTHER FLAMMABLE LIGHT SOURCES ARE NOT TO BE USED.

Utility Emergencies – Inadequate Lighting, Night Time and/or Weekends

Employees who exhaust all non-utility dependent duties or where work is totally dependent on the utility in question should generally be released from work, with the approval of the department head. Such employees are expected to provide phone numbers where they can be reached so they can be called to return to work if the utility is restored.


Employees who are released from work during a utility emergency will be paid their regular straight time pay for hours worked and for hours scheduled, whether or not they are asked to return to work for the remainder of a shift if the utility is restored. Scheduled hours not worked do not count in the calculation of overtime for staff (non-exempt) employees. Employees who do not report to work when called and those who cannot be reached will not be paid for hours remaining in the work day.

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