Employee Rules for Inclement Weather

How do you know when and how to pay employees, when inclement weather hits?  It can be a confusing and tricky situation knowing or deciding who to pay, and who not to pay.  This is due to the differences in Exempt and Non-Exempt employees according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Non –Exempt employees:  If a business closes due to severe weather conditions, non-exempt employees are not entitled to pay.  Employers may allow for the use of paid time off (PTO) to cover weather-related absences if the employees have PTO available.  On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with deciding to pay the employees for time off due to inclement weather conditions.

Exempt employees: When an employer is not open for business due to harsh weather, the employee is entitled to their whole salary.  The choice of working or not was not given to them to make.  They were available to work but the work was not available.  No deductions of pay should be taken for leaving early or arriving late due to weather related reasons.

If the employer is open for business and the employee decides to stay home, they are not entitled to their whole salary.  The employer can then dock their pay for the day because work was available and the employee chose to stay home for personal reasons.  Paid time off can be used to cover the absence.

If the employee has the means to work remotely from home, in this case, no payroll deductions should be made.

Adopting an inclement weather policy can help.  This will avoid any uncertainty when adverse weather conditions arise.  The policy should include who will decide closures and communication of such closures as well as how non-exempt employees will (or will not) be paid.  Also, there should be a call-in procedure in place for employees that can not make it when the office is open.

Questions?  Concerns?  We’re here to help; give OEM a call!

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