This blog was written by Brandon White, Director of Human Resources at Helpside. Brandon has more than a decade of experience, allowing him to make complicated employment situations and regulations approachable for small businesses.
Whether it is high winds knocking out power, snowy days, or even natural disasters, employers often have questions about how to pay employees if a business closes due to inclement weather.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that employers are only required to pay hourly, nonexempt employees for hours worked. This means employers would only be obligated to pay these employees for the time they were at work or working, but once the employees were sent home you would not be required to pay them for the time. This applies whether the employee chose to go home, miss a shift, or if your business was closed. Most companies will require or allow employees to use their PTO to make up the difference of the hours they would have worked.
If any of your employees are exempt, they will need to be paid for a full week, even if they only work part of the week or are sent home for part of the day. The only time an employer is allowed to deduct pay from an exempt employee because of inclement weather is when the employee does not perform any work during a full week. If your business remains open and work is available, but an exempt employee chooses to take time off for inclement weather, you do not have to pay them for full day absences. An employer can require or allow exempt employees to use their PTO for the time that was missed.
Some companies will choose to implement an Inclement Weather Policy to outline how they intend pay employees in these types of situations. If you choose to put an Inclement Weather Policy in place, you want to be sure to follow that policy.
If you have specific questions about your situation or would like help putting together an Inclement Weather Policy, please reach out to Helpside at firstname.lastname@example.org.