Wage and Hour Snow Storms
Posted 02.08.14
Jonathan A. Segal

Now is a good time for a quick reminder of the wage and hour rules on snow storms and employee compensation.

Let’s start with the FLSA:

1. As a result of the FLSA’s salary basis requirement, if as a result of a snow storm you close for less than a full work week, you must pay an exempt employee for full or partial days that you are closed. However, you generally can require that an exempt employee use PTO during a day in which you close. Note: if sick days cannot be used for personal reasons, then an employer most probably cannot require that an employee use sick days in these circumstances.

2. If you remain open and an exempt employee does not come to work, you do not have to pay the employee for the day; this can be treated as an absence for personal reasons, provided it is a full day. If an exempt employee arrives late or leaves early, he or she must be paid for the full day, but you generally can require that he or she use PTO, if available, to cover the non-working time. Same caution about sick days. You also must pay him or her if he or she works from home.

3. No legal obligation under the FLSA to pay non-exempt employees who do not work because you close due to the snow; however, there is an important exception for non-exempt employees who are paid under the fluctuating work week.

Even if there is no duty to pay non-exempt employees, consider the employee relations message of paying exempt but not paying non-exempt employees for a day on which you are closed.

Also, if non-exempt employee works at home, you must pay for all time worked. Systems must be put in place to state who can work remotely and how they must record their time so that they are properly paid. Remember, break rules apply to working at home too.

Keep in mind state law may impose additional requirements or restrictions. For example only, in New Jersey, there are call-in requirements; that is, if an employee comes to work and is sent home, there is a minimum number of hours’ pay the employee must receive.

Keep in mind also that there may be payment obligations under collective bargaining agreements and/or your policies.

Be safe.

This blog should not be construed as legal advice, as pertaining to specific factual situations or as creating an attorney-client relationship.

About Jonathan A. Segal
Jonathan A. Segal is a partner at Duane Morris LLP in the Employment Group. He is also the managing principal of the Duane Morris Institute. The Duane Morris Institute provides training for human resource professionals, in-house counsel, and other leaders at client sites and by way of webinar on myriad employment, leadership labor, benefits and immigration topics. Jonathan has served intermittently as a consultant to the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C. for more than 20 years, providing training on employment issues to federal judges around the country. Jonathan also has provided training on harassment on behalf of the EEOC as well as providing training on diversity to members of the United States intelligence agencies. Jonathan is also frequently a featured speaker at national, state and local human resource, business and legal conferences, including conferences sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Pennsylvania State Chamber of Business and Industry. Jonathan’s practice focuses on maximizing compliance and minimizing legal risk. Jonathan’s particular areas of emphasis include: equal employment opportunity in general and gender equality in particular: social media; wage and hour; performance management; talent acquisition; harassment prevention and correction; and non-competes and other ways to protect your business. You can find him on Twitter @Jonathan_HR_Law .