As we head into the winter months, snow and ice may present an issue for employees trying to get to work, as well as, employers and opening their office for the day. It’s important for employers to know the FLSA rules when it comes to paying employees when the office is closed or when inclement weather presents an issue for employees trying to get to work.
Employers are only required to pay non-exempt employees for the hours that they actually work. This applies to when your office is open and just inaccessible for some staff or if it is closed due to inclement weather.
If an employee works any portion of the week, they must be paid their full salary for the week – even if your office closes due to weather related problems. Employers can, however, require the employee to utilize vacation time for the day off. If the employee does not have any available vacation time, the employer is not allowed to dock their pay to cover the day(s) off. With this being said, many employers will not require employees to utilize their day off because of the impact it could have on employee morale.
If the office is open, but an exempt employee is not able to get to work due to the weather, the employee is not considered “ready, willing, and able to work”. The employee is considered being absent for personal reasons and the employer can dock the employee’s pay if they miss a full day. If the employee only misses part of the day, the employer cannot dock any pay. Most employers will opt to allow employees use vacation time for these days, and some will not charge employees for their time off at all.
It is imperative that employers fully understand the above FLSA regulations, and clearly document their weather related policies. They must also make sure that employees fully understand the policies and how it relates to them.
If you need assistance developing and/or communicating your weather related policies, contact Alternative HR at 717-855-5589.