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When Inclement Weather Strikes: How to Pay Your Employees


: Must a company pay an hourly, non-exempt employee for the day(s) when the business was closed due to inclement weather?

A: The general rule for non-exempt employees is to pay only for time worked – this is true under federal and state law. A company may require the hourly non-exempt employee to use vacation days. However, it should be noted that New York’s Department of Labor requires employers to pay an employee who reports for work on any day at least four hours (or the number of hours in the employee’s regularly schedule shift, if fewer than four) at minimum wage. If the business was closed and the employer did not notify an employee not to report, he or she is entitled to this minimum amount as “show-up pay”.

Q: Does a company have to pay salaried, exempt employees when the business was closed?

A: The general rule for exempt employees is that an employee who performs any work in a workweek must be paid for the entire week. This includes time spent working remotely from home or another location. Alternatively, if the business was closed for an entire week due to inclement weather, the employer is not required to pay the employee his or her salary that week. Where an employee has any amount of paid time off in his or her “bank”, the employer may apply it to all or part of the missed week, in accordance with a company policy.

Q: If the business re-opens or remains open, and a salaried, exempt employee is unable to make it to work as a result of impassible roads, loss of transportation, etc., may the employer dock his or her pay without jeopardizing the exemption?

A: Typically, yes. However, deductions may be made for full-day absences only. An employee’s inability to report to work due to severe weather or hazardous road conditions is considered to be a “personal reason.” Employers should ensure that the pay of exempt employees who are performing work remotely is not being docked simply because the employee did not report to the office. Therefore, if an exempt employee worked remotely during a workweek, even if only for an hour, his or her pay cannot be docked.

Q: Must a company pay a non-exempt employee overtime for any hours worked in excess of 40 hours if the non-exempt employee is unable to leave the company’s facility due to severe weather and continues to work?

A: Yes. If a non-exempt employee has worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, the employer must pay overtime compensation at time-and-one-half his or her regular rate.

PMP is here to help you navigate the not-so-obvious effects inclement weather has on your business.

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