Stop Forecasting! Know Exactly How To Pay Your Employees After Closing Business For Inclement Weather

With hurricane season fast approaching, companies should review their policies and procedures as they relate to paying employees should weather or other factors force your facility to close.

NON-EXEMPT EMPLOYEES:

• For non-exempt employees the general rule is to pay only for time worked – this is true under federal and state law.
• However, New York’s Department of Labor has issued regulations that require 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 scheduled shift, if less 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”.
• Some employers may have policies or union contractual requirements which dictate some amount of pay for employees who report to work, if no work is available. Those policies should be adhered to.

For days missed due to a business closure or shut-down, non-exempt employees may be given the option to use earned and accrued paid time off, if the employer chooses to do so, and/or if the policy contains that option.

EXEMPT EMPLOYEES:

For exempt employees, the general rule is that an employee who performs any work in a workweek must be paid for the entire workweek.  This would include time spent working remotely from home or another location.

Alternatively, if the employee does not perform any work the entire week, there is no requirement that the employee be paid 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.

Where a business is closed for only part of a workweek, but the employee remains absent from work for personal reasons after it reopens, the absences of full days or more may be deducted pursuant to the employer’s bona fide time-off policy.  Under a properly worded policy, an employer may deduct earned days from a time-off bank, or, where the employee’s time-off bank has been exhausted, may deduct from the weekly salary a pro-rata amount in full day increments.  This is true regardless of the reason for absence (e.g. gas shortage issues), as long as it is not related to sickness or disability.

Questions related to pay for salaried-exempt workers are fact-specific and we encourage you to contact us to discuss all pertinent facts before any decision is made.

As always, employers are cautioned to apply all policies and practices consistently, especially in unusual or emergency conditions where there may be a strong desire to create an exception to the rule.

PMP is here to answer any questions you have.  Don’t hesitate to call any of our professional HR consultants or staff attorneys at 800-921-2195 or 516-921-3400.
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This article is intended for general information only and should not be construed as legal advice.



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