04 Feb HR – Do You Know: Forced to Close by the Weather, Must Employers Make Payroll?
Question: We’re going to close our work site due to inclement weather. Do we have to pay employees?
The current Arctic cold blast that has crippled the Midwest and much of the U.S. has resulted in many, many businesses closing their doors to keep employees as far out of harm’s way and the dangerous weather as possible. While many in Texas and throughout the South and other parts of the country were spared of the freezing conditions, it has caused many employers to wonder how to handle their payroll if they are ever affected similarly.
Answer: Non-exempt employees need to be paid only for actual hours worked plus any reporting time pay that may be required by the state (this sometimes applies when employees show up for work but are sent home early).
Exempt employees, on the other hand, must be paid when the employer closes due to inclement weather, whether they do any work or not. You may require exempt employees to use accrued vacation or paid time off for the day if that is your regular practice when the work space closes. However, exempt employees without enough paid time off to cover the absence must still be provided with their regular salary during the closure.
Many companies have an inclement weather or emergency closure policy for these sorts of situations. These policies typically address communication in the event of work site closures and options for employees. Employers might, for example, allow employees to work from home. If an employer does not have a policy like this in place, now might be the time to implement one.
Employers who need assistance in developing an inclement weather policy should contact ETC.