Boston Housing Authority

Departments > Human Resources > Policies > Storm Policy For Staff Attendance


The following policy applies primarily to snow storms, but shall also apply to other major emergencies such as hurricanes or other disasters. Part of the policy speaks to snow removal; however, employees shall be considered essential or non-essential for other emergencies in the same way. Essential employees are those staff whose direct services are required during emergencies to protect the security, safety and health of residents.


Central Office Staff

The Boston Housing Authority will be officially closed whenever the Administrator declares an emergency. Notice of the closure shall be posted on the BHA’s website. Notice will also be provided via the BHA’s Storm Alert email notification system to which employees can subscribe following the instructions at the end of this policy. Employees should check these sources before leaving for work whenever a serious weather-related event is anticipated. Non-Essential employees are strongly encouraged to check their local weather conditions before leaving for work in the event of a storm. When the Authority remains open, but local conditions are unsafe for travel, such affected employees should contact their supervisors to request approval for a vacation or personal leave day. Such approval shall not be unreasonably withheld.

Official closure means that the central office will close down and employees will be asked to leave early, or to stay at home if the announcement is made at night or in the early morning. The only staffs who shall be expected to come to 52 Chauncy Street are the maintenance crew and public safety officers. Phone operators will be asked to come in only if necessary to forward phones to Amory Street or another location; in this case, operator(s) will be notified by their supervisor. Legal staff is required to attend court hearings if scheduled and not cancelled due to the emergency condition. In the event that circumstances require additional staff at the Chauncy Street office, department heads may contact staff and request them to come to work. All staff who report to work shall be entitled to an administrative leave day at a later date. If additional staff is needed in the field, staff from the central office may volunteer to perform work in developments or at the Amory Street Operations location. Such volunteers will be entitled to an administrative day off. Central office employees who wish to work on a volunteer basis should call the Director of Operations or the Work Order Center to inquire as to whether or not they are needed to assist at a field location.

Leased Housing and Occupancy staff shall not perform public functions on these days and all grievance hearings shall be cancelled. These staffs should make reasonable attempts to contact clients to advise them of the anticipated Authority closure.

Department of Public Safety Staff

All public safety staff including dispatchers are considered essential employees and must report to work in accordance with shift assignments. Police officers and senior officers are additionally subject to call-in for additional coverage with overtime.

Field Site Staff

Development management and maintenance offices, Amory Street Operations, Maintenance and Elderly Offices, the Garage, the Police Station and related operations, and Central Stores shall remain open during such storms to insure appropriate snow removal and other emergency maintenance services are provided.

The following staff are considered essential:

  • All Laborers and Groundskeepers
  • All Resident Custodians
  • All Trades persons
  • All ERS phone operators and supervisory staff
  • All Night Crew Staff
  • Maintenance Superintendents*
  • Managers*
  • The Director of Building Maintenance
  • Maintenance Supervisory Staff, including Program Maintenance Supervisors, Heating Plant Coordinator, and the Service Program Coordinator
  • Assistant Directors of Property Management
  • Regional Managers
  • Director of Property Management

*Field Offices may be staffed on a skeleton basis. If there are two or three managers at a site, as well as one or two maintenance superintendents, it is not required that all managers and superintendents be present. Adequate supervisory staff must be present to insure that all work is handled appropriately, to solve problems with equipment and supplies, and to deal with resident problems. The number of staff required will vary by both the site and the intensity of the emergency. Managers shall make this determination with the approval of Assistant Directors.

Generally, skeleton levels should include at least one management and one maintenance supervisor; at larger developments it makes sense to have at least three supervisory staff persons, or two supervisory staff and one office support staff person. Clerk Typists, Office Management Aides, and Senior Management Aides shall not be required to come in, but may volunteer to do so to assist during an emergency.

Resident Services Coordinators in the Elderly Division shall be available by phone or page at all times during emergency conditions and may be required to attend work if circumstances warrant. The Assistant Director shall make this decision for the Elderly/Disabled Program.

The Garage and Central Stores may also be operated on a skeleton basis with the approval of their department head.

All staff who work on a scheduled emergency day shall be entitled to take one Administrative Leave day within the three months following the storm. Assistant Directors and other supervisors shall be required to notify Human Resources of all staff entitled to this.

Field staff may report to a development closer to home with the approval of their supervisor and agreement of the second development. For instance, a laborer who lives near Fairmount, but works at Charlestown, may request permission to work at Fairmount during an emergency and may do so if both the Charlestown and Fairmount Managers agree to this arrangement.

All essential staff are required to attend work unless they have a bona fide personal emergency such as illness. The Authority shall have the right to require proof of such emergency or illness. Employees in this category shall use sick time or personal leave time, whichever applies, and may not use vacation time. The administrator may waive this requirement under exceptional circumstances.


During non-regular working hours, when the BHA declares an emergency, certain staff shall be required to attend work, including maintenance and public safety staff. A determination of emergency shall be made by the Administrator, Director of Operations, the Director of Building Maintenance or other executive staff members who shall notify senior field management staff.

Laborers and Janitor Groundskeepers are required to report to work under the terms of their contract. All contract terms, including overtime payments, meal allowances, and the BHA’s rights to verify personal emergencies shall be adhered to by the BHA.

Trades staff may report to work to assist with snow removal during off-hours with the approval of their supervisors. Trades persons shall supplement, not take the place of, laborers and J/Gs in snow removal.

Regularly scheduled night crew members and weekend rotation staff are expected to report to work.

At least one supervisor for each site (manager or superintendent) must report to work to oversee the work of the staff and solve equipment and supplies problems. Larger developments may require more than one supervisor. This determination shall be made in consultation between the Manager and the Assistant Director.

Program Maintenance Supervisors and/or Assistant Directors of Property Management are expected to report to work to oversee work at developments and solve equipment and supplies problems. The Director of Property Management and/or the Director of Building Services shall be expected to report to work. The Elderly Program shall determine appropriate levels of senior level supervisory staff required based on the emergency.

The garage shall be staffed with at least one person; the Director of Building Maintenance shall determine whether more than one staff person should be at work.

All Resident Custodians are expected to work for the duration of any emergency, with breaks for meals and sleep.

Operations may request that Central Stores be opened; final determination shall be made by the Chief Procurement Officer in consultation with the Director of Property Management and Operations.

During emergencies, Resident Services Coordinators shall be available by phone or page and shall report to work if requested by a supervisor.

All Public Safety staff including dispatchers shall report to their sites on their assigned schedules.

All Police Officers shall report to duty in accordance with their schedules, and additional officers and administrative staff may be required to perform overtime.

The Boston Housing Authority reserves the right to call in any needed staff during emergency conditions and shall honor all contract obligations including overtime and compensatory time rights.

What to do

Clarification for your particular situation should be sought on the day of the emergency by:

  • Contacting your direct supervisor or another supervisor in your department (if he/she is unavailable) within the first hour of your shift. If that contact is not made, your attendance will be expected as usual

Instructions for Subscribing to Storm Notification Email/Listserv System

Employees can subscribe to the BHA’s Storm Alert Email notification system by clicking here:


Subscribe to BHA Email