Winter is definitely here with the temperatures dropping and the snow starting to fall. As kids we loved it when the snow started to come down. SNOW DAY! As adults having to travel to work or school the appeal of snow falling isn’t what it used to be. As employers, the winter weather can mean potential attendance and pay-related issues. One of the questions we are asked the most is whether or not employees have to be paid when there is bad weather and what happens when the office/company is closed. Here are the answers….
Pay issues arise when weather forces your business to close for any length of time or prevents employees from making it to work even if your business remains open.
For non-exempt employees, which are typically known as “Hourly” employees, you are only required to pay them for the hours they actually work. Thus, if your business opens late, closes early, closes for an entire day or if they cannot come in, you are not required to pay them for any time missed. The exception to this is if an hourly employee reports to work at your request, you must pay them for at least two (2) hours at their regular rate of pay. Thus, it is important to have a system in place to let employees know if you plan to not open and make the decision before employees begin to arrive.
Exempt employees, which are typically known as “Salaried”, are a different situation. If an exempt employee works any part of the pay period, you must pay them for the entire pay period. Similarly, if the business is closed for the day, you must also pay them (unless the business is closed for the entire pay period). You may, however, require that they use available paid time off or vacation time, if available. Depending on the leave policy, if an exempt employee has exhausted all of his or her paid leave and still requests time off for the snow day, then you would not have to pay the employee for that day.
If your business has the setup for employees to work from home, one option to ease the loss of a business day or any missed productivity is to ask employees to work from home. This option may not be available to all businesses or positions.
Be Prepared In Advance
Employees should be informed of your company policies related to inclement weather — safety, attendance and pay-related. You should have an established method to inform your employees of a business closing or delay. When bad weather is coming, address all your policies again, remind employees of communication channels to address attendance and plan for the worst potential outcome to ensure your company is prepared for the weather. The old adage, Better Safe Than Sorry….
For more information on these and other employer/employee related items, call our office to schedule an appointment at 603-668-2222.
Other information is available at: https://www.nh.gov/labor/