We came across the article “Make Sure Managers Know What the Law Requires on Snow Days” by Allen Smith, J.D. on www.shrm.org. It discusses the laws for paying employees on snow days, put in place by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSH”).
The FLSA mandates that exempt employees be paid an entire week’s salary for all weeks that they work. The article states that there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if an exempt employee is absent from work due to a personal reason, their daily pay can be subtracted. The law also allows for employers to make their employees use accrued leave for absences on snow days. Contributors to the article do not suggest following these exceptions because they can damage the employees’ morale or cause anger. The OSH Act was created to promote safety in the workplace. As part of fulfilling this goal, steps must be taken to limit workers’ exposure to inclement weather. A contributor to the article suggests that employees be educated about weather-related dangers and injuries.
In addition to the above regulations, there are state and local laws regarding pay for employees that report to work but are not needed for the shift. According to the article, some states require that employees in this situation be paid for a predetermined number of hours or for the time in which they were scheduled to work. There are also state and local laws that ensure that employees are notified of changes to their schedules in a reasonable amount of time. It is important to be familiar with these laws because they can affect employee payment during inclement weather closures.
In summary, there are many laws to keep in mind when deciding to have a closure due to the weather. Be sure that you know them by location. Even though an employer may have to pay employees for time not worked, it is necessary to keep the safety of employees as the top priority during times of severe weather.