The snow is
swirling and piling up outside my window. Schools are closed, roads are
treacherous and employees can’t get to work. During this winter of 2009/2010
snow days have become more than an isolated event in many parts of the country.
Paid time off is dwindling along with salt supplies.
employers pay everyone if weather prevents a complete work day but most apply
different rules, particularly in this year of seemingly non-stop storms.
response has been inconsistent or you are just not sure about compliance and
options here are some pointers:
workplace is closed due to inclement weather there is no federal requirement to
pay scheduled hourly, non-exempt employees, unless it is a requirement under a union
contract. You should have a published procedure that describes how employees
are notified of closures.
can allow employees to use paid time off, vacation or personal days, in order
to receive pay for the day. This helps employees and employers who would
normally schedule the time off at a later date. Think twice before allowing
employees to use sick days for this time. I think sick time should be reserved
for personal and family illness only.
employees who are exempt from overtime, paid a salary, the rules are a bit more
complicated. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) says that employers have to
pay overtime exempt employees for a full work week, even if a workplace is open
for only part of the week.
If the work
site is closed and a manager doesn’t work and stays home employers can require
that they take available paid time off in order to receive pay for a full week.
If they don’t have any time available the Department of Labor (DOL) says they
still have to be paid for the week.
office is opened and an employee does not come in the DOL considers this an
absence for personal reasons. Employers can require employees to use any
available leave, paid time off, vacation or personal days. If the exempt
employee doesn’t have any available time and employer can deduct for a full
employees show up for work, start working, or are sent home in any situation
they must be paid for all hours worked. In many states employers may also be
required to pay a minimum amount for call in pay. Check with your state department of labor to identify applicable rules.
employees the rules are pretty much the same as for a full day. You can require
that employees use partial paid time off days but if they are not available you
do have to pay an overtime exempt employee for the full day.
Working from Home
decide to allow both hourly and salaried employees to continue working without
walking out their front door. Mobile technology makes it easy to do get a lot
done from home, even when the company is closed. Agree in advance about the
expectations and follow up required. For an hourly employee you may request a
log or identify specifically how many hours will be worked.
salaried employees work from home treat the day as a work day for compensation
purposes, don’t decide to pay them for just two hours responding to email.
Communicate expectations in advance to avoid employees calling in and
announcing, “I’m working from home because of the snow” without any
expectations of what will be accomplished.
until the snow melts to decide pay practices. A consistent policy won’t clear a
sidewalk but it will help avoid complaints on pay day.