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Staff Attendance and Work Schedules

Calling in Late or Absent | Disciplinary Action Relating to Absence | Medical Documentation Relating to Absence | Medical and Dental Appointments | Absences Due to Serious Health Conditions | Non-Medical Absences | Leaving the Workplace | Severe Weather or Other Emergencies | Meal Breaks 

Staff members are expected to report to work as scheduled and to remain at work during their entire work schedule, except for meal periods or those times authorized by management. Work hours and schedules vary throughout the College, depending upon the services provided by each area. 

Supervisors establish and inform staff members of specific work schedules, including normal start times, break times, meal schedules, and ending times. Your supervisor has the authority to adjust work schedules to meet the operating needs of your department. This might include changing the schedule, requiring overtime, or reducing work hours.

When your work schedule must be changed, your supervisor will give you as much advance notice as possible. It is expected and important that you maintain a practice of reliable, consistent attendance at all times.

Calling in Late or Absent

If you must be late or miss work due to an unscheduled absence, you must contact your supervisor as soon as possible prior to your scheduled start time. Please reference your department’s call-out procedures for additional information. Staff members must also inform their supervisor of the reason for and expected duration of any absence. The only exception to this policy is in the case of unforeseeable emergencies. 

As a staff member, you are responsible for contacting your supervisor directly, in accordance with any departmental procedures. Relatives or friends should not call on your behalf unless you are medically unable to do so yourself. If your supervisor is not working at the time, contact the acting manager or member of the leadership team to inform them of your absence. 

If you have an unexpected absence that lasts for more than one day, you should call each day. Failure to notify your supervisor when you will be absent or late may result in disciplinary action.

If you are absent for three consecutive scheduled workdays without notifying and receiving approval from your supervisor, the College will consider you to have abandoned your position without proper notice and will terminate your employment, effective your last day worked.

Disciplinary Action Relating to Absence

Excessive absences for reasons other than those covered under FMLA may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including possible termination of employment. Excessive absence includes: frequent absences or tardiness, frequently asking to leave work early, a pattern of attendance problems, (e.g., often absent, or late on Mondays and/or Fridays), or a disproportionate pattern of "emergency" absence requests. Individuals who are excessively absent may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Medical Documentation Relating to Absence

If you have a medical related absence lasting three (3) or more consecutive work days, upon your return to work you will be required to submit a doctor's note or equivalent medical documentation. Medical documentation should be sent to and must specifically verify that you were treated for an illness or injury and are unable to work before the use of sick leave will be authorized. The College may request a second medical opinion.

Medical and Dental Appointments

Whenever possible, medical and dental appointments should be scheduled for yourself and your family outside of your normal work schedule. If you need to miss work for a scheduled medical or dental appointment, let your supervisor know in advance. Please consult your department’s relevant policies for additional information.

Absences Due to Serious Health Conditions

Absences due to a serious health condition, whether the absence is continuous or intermittent, may be covered by the FMLA. Short term absences for medical reasons are generally not considered to be serious health conditions and are not covered under the FMLA.

Non-Medical Absences

We recognize that a staff member may need unscheduled time off for a non-medical reason. Supervisors will make every effort to accommodate infrequent non-medical absence requests by allowing you to use accrued vacation time. Some absences for non-medical reasons may be covered by FMLA. Please refer to the FMLA section of this handbook for more information.

Absences due to incarceration for conviction of a crime are not considered authorized time off, and such an absence of three days or more may result in termination of your employment.

Leaving the Workplace

Once you have begun your work shift, you should not leave your work area except for authorized reasons. If you must leave your work area for personal reasons, first get your supervisor's permission. If you are an hourly staff member, remember to clock out or record the time away on your timesheet.

If you cannot be found by your supervisor and have not received permission to be away from the work area, it may be considered unauthorized absence, and be subject to disciplinary action. If you leave your work area and do not appropriately record the time away on your time records, it may constitute falsification of time records and be subject to disciplinary action.

Severe Weather or Other Emergencies

Pay for Inclement Weather or Emergency Day

The below section refers to practices during inclement weather or emergency situations.

Reporting to Work

As a residential campus, Swarthmore College does not close completely during extreme weather or other emergency situations. As Swarthmore is a residential campus, a certain level of service must be provided, regardless of the circumstances, which means certain staff members must be on campus during weather and emergency events.

Full- and part-time benefits eligible staff who must be on campus to support essential campus operations (Public Safety, Environmental Services, Maintenance, Grounds, etc.) or to support students in residence (Swarthmore Dining) will be required to come to campus during weather emergencies. Unless the College formally cancels activities, it will remain open. 

Staff members listed above should report to work unless notified otherwise. Others who have the ability to work remotely are encouraged to do so with the permission of their supervisor.  Those individuals should continue to work remotely even in the event of inclement weather and are responsible for bringing their laptops and other necessary work materials home with them when inclement weather is predicted. 

Cancellation of activities or reduced operations

Staff in service areas, campus and student operations 

When the College formally cancels activities for all or any portion of an employee's standard work shift or reduces operations, non-exempt staff who must work on campus during such closure to support operations or students as defined above will be compensated double time for all time worked during the weather event or emergency. The additional compensation should be recorded as administrative leave and will not count as additional hours toward overtime. 

Exempt staff in these divisions will not receive additional compensation if they are required to work during an inclement weather event or emergency.  However, they may take time off in the form of administrative leave relating to the additional hours worked during the event. Such time off requires prior supervisor approval. Such administrative leave does not need to be recorded in mySwarthmore.

 If a staff member in these areas is not required to work that day due to a limited need for campus coverage, the staff member will be paid straight time in the form of administrative leave for their scheduled shift. Such paid administrative leave time does not count as hours worked for the purpose of calculating overtime.  

If a staff member in these areas is unable to report to work that day and the absence is excused by their supervisor, the staff member may either use accrued vacation time or take time off without pay if no vacation time is available. If a supervisor does not grant permission for the staff member to be absent and the staff member is unable to work remotely, the day will be unpaid. 

All other staff

All other non-exempt staff members who are regularly scheduled to work hours during the cancellation of activities and who are unable to perform their job duties remotely will be paid administrative leave in accordance with their regular work schedule. This administrative leave will not count as hours worked for the purpose of calculating overtime. This time should be reported as administrative leave in time reports of non-exempt employees. 

Staff who work on a hybrid basis or who are able to do so should work remotely. These staff members should plan to bring their laptops and other necessary work materials home with them when inclement weather is predicted. If they do not do so and as a result they are unable to perform the essential duties of their position, they must take vacation time or will be unpaid where no vacation time is available.

Exempt employees who are not required to work on campus to support operations or students as described above, and who are unable to perform their job duties remotely, will be paid administrative leave. Such administrative leave does not need to be recorded in mySwarthmore.

Temporary employees are ineligible for administrative leave pay.

Regular operations during inclement weather

There will be times when the College maintains regular operations during light or manageable snowfall. In these circumstances, staff members will be paid regular time. Any staff member who does not report to work or is not previously approved for hybrid work must take vacation or unpaid time. 

The College retains the right to adjust this policy during extended events of inclement weather at its discretion.

How to Find Out About Delays or Closings

In the event of ice or snow, please check your work email, visit the College website (, or call the College’s weather and emergency hotline (610-328-8228) at approximately  6 a.m. on the day in question for information on weather-related delays or closings. We will update information throughout the day if conditions change. Environmental Services staff should call their department’s hotline for information specific to them.

All employees should sign up for the SwatSafe App. In the event of weather or other emergencies, the College uses SwatSafe to communicate directly to your cellphone or other device.

Meal Breaks 

The College provides an unpaid meal break of no less than 30 minutes for all shifts of seven consecutive hours or more. Your supervisor will work with you to schedule the actual time and length of your meal period based on the needs of the department.

During a meal break, you are relieved of all duties and you are encouraged to leave your immediate work area. Time spent during meal breaks is unpaid. Meal breaks may not be saved or used to compensate for tardiness or for leaving early.

Non-exempt staff members who are required by their department to participate in meetings over the lunch period must be compensated for that time.