Memo To:   All Buffalo Teachers

From:         Rich Nigro, President, BTF

Date:          November 28, 2023


Subject:     Severe Weather Conditions (Snow Days)

Due to the severe weather conditions that some parts of WNY received, several teachers have called the BTF asking if they need to use a personal day if inclement weather precludes them from getting to work. Please see below.



Question: Do I call in sick or take a personal day if I cannot make it to work because of severe weather conditions?

Answer: DO NOT call in sick and DO NOT use a personal day. When you call your school, tell them that severe weather is preventing you from reporting.


ARTICLE XXXIII (A) states: Teachers shall receive pay for absence on account of abnormally severe weather conditions in the Buffalo Metropolitan Area when certified by the Principal or Division Head and approved by the Superintendent of Schools.


The above means that you should not lose sick or personal time NOR should you be docked pay.


When you do report to school submit an “Application for a Short-Term Absence Leave From Regular Duty” form (personal leave form).


Complete the top; check the box “with no absence charges, away on Board Business.


Under the Reason for Request, describe your particular circumstances. For example, “There was a travel ban and drift preventing me from getting out of my driveway” or, “I ran off the road within 100 feet of my house” etc.


Roads do not necessarily have to be closed or impassable. However, the weather has to be severe enough to prevent your safe passage to your Buffalo school assignment. Schools being closed in your home district is NOT in and of itself a valid reason for your absence from duty. Over the years, there have been many grievances that have ended up in front of an impartial arbitrator. Below is part of an arbitrator’s award on a “snow day” grievance.


“In particular, the precise issue is whether a snowdrift which makes it impossible for the Grievant to get out of his driveway comes within the ‘severe weather conditions’ provision. Undoubtedly, (the teacher’s*) absence on the day in question would seem to fall under any reasonable interpretation of the phrase ‘abnormally severe weather conditions.’ A four-foot high snowdrift is obviously caused by ‘weather conditions’, and the fact that (this teacher*) could not… extricate himself from his driveway would certainly indicate that the condition was ‘severe’. This argument is strengthened by the fact that the Pembroke School System, the district in which (the teacher*) lives, was closed on the day in question. Moreover, the closing of nearby school systems also supports the argument that there was ‘severe weather conditions’.


Thus, the grievance is sustained, and the District is ordered to grant (this teacher’s*) request for ‘severe weather conditions’ pay under Article XXXIII (A). Furthermore, the personal day which he was forced to take should be returned to him.”


If you have any questions, call BTF before you submit your personal leave form. Please keep a copy of your completed form and send it to the BTF.