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