The nation is preparing for some extreme weather this week as it gets ready for the holidays. Many governments, business and nonprofits will close due to the weather.
It is at times like these that employers are reminded to have an up-to-date inclement weather policy that clearly spells out the employer’s and employee’s responsibilities during inclement weather.
A good inclement weather policy has ten main characteristics:
- Defines inclement weather
- Declares who decides that the office will be closed
- Determines how important work will get done
- Defines how employees be notified of an office closure
- Determines a remote work policy, make up time policy and how childcare issues will be addressed (i.e. can kids be brought to the office?)
- Creates a policy if there is a state of emergency
- Outlines how the overall policy will be communicated to employees
- Addresses the requirements for paying non-exempt employees
- Addresses non-exempt employee reporting pay requirements
- Determines the requirements for paying exempt employees
One question that always seems to arise during times like these is what are the employer’s responsibilities for paying employees if an office closes due to weather? What if the office is open and the employee can’t make it to work because of conditions or childcare issues? Is an employer required to pay an employee for work not done?
The answer centers around the employee’s status (exempt vs non-exempt) and your inclement weather policy.
The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued opinions which provide guidance for employers to follow in paying exempt employees (who are exempt from overtime pay requirements) during periods of inclement weather.
The DOL rules can be different based upon whether the company is closed because of the weather or whether the company is open and the employee can’t get to work or otherwise misses work because of a storm or other weather event. Whatever your case may be, it is always smart to check with your State Department of Labor for rules in your state.
Related Post: Wage and Hour Issues in the Wake of Inclement Weather
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