Compensation during inclement weather: To pay or not to pay.

Author:Kopplin, Keith E.
Position:Nuts & Bolts

Important wage-and-hour issues may be triggered by inclement winter weather. Ensure your policies and practices comply with the law in case bad weather temporarily interrupts your operations.

Exempt or nonexempt?

Pay requirements differ depending on exempt or nonexempt status.

Exempt employees: Generally, exempt employees must be paid the same amount each week in which they perform any work, regardless of the quantity or quality of the work.

The U.S. Department of Labor takes the position that exempt employees still need to be paid their full weekly salary if their employer closes the facility for a day or two due to inclement weather because the employees are ready, willing and able to work, but work is not available.

On the other hand, if the business remains open but an exempt employee chooses not to report due to inclement weather, his or her employer can make a deduction from salary, but only in full-day increments.

If an exempt employee comes in late or leaves early due to inclement weather, he or she must be paid for the entire day. However, the DOL does permit the employer to make partial-day deductions from the exempt employee's available paid time off, per the employer's policies and applicable state and local laws.

Nonexempt employees: In contrast, at the federal level and in most jurisdictions, nonexempt employees get paid only for the hours they actually work. So if a nonexempt employee does not report for work due to inclement weather, he or she does not need to be paid, even if the employer closes the worksite for the day.

What about telecommuting?

Telecommuting may also trigger an employer's responsibility to pay an employee, even if the employer closes due to inclement weather. If an employer knows or has reason to know an employee is working from home when it has closed operations due to inclement weather, it must pay the employee for the work performed.

A nonexempt employee need only be paid for the actual amount of work performed.

An exempt employee who does work from home when the business is closed due to inclement weather would be entitled to pay for...

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