The weather, throughout the country during this time of year can be extreme, causing delays, and at times we will need to shut down operations because of inclement and unpredictable weather. As most of us know, a few weeks ago the extreme cold was a perfect example of weather causing operations to close. As leaders, we need ensure safety of our workforce and to fully understand the laws and regulations related to pay for both exempt and nonexempt workers, if the organization closes due to inclement weather.
Below are 4 need to knows on inclement weather and pay:
- Exempt Employees: Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, exempt employees almost always must be paid during inclement weather and/or a natural disaster. The Department of Labor has a list of instances in which an employer can dock an exempt employees pay, inclement weather and/or a natural disaster does not fall into pay docking. The exempt employee must be paid for the entire day. If the organization plans to close for an entire week due to weather or a disaster, at this time, an organization would not have to pay an exempt employee.
- Nonexempt Employees: Under the FLSA (federal law), employers are only required to pay hourly, nonexempt employees hours worked. Certain states have report-in or call-in pay laws that can require employers to pay nonexempt employees if they show up to work as scheduled.
- New York State Nonexempt Laws: The New York Labor Law “Call-In Pay” provisions state, “that an employee who, by request or permission, reports to work on any day shall be paid at least the lesser of: a) four hours at the basic minimum wage rate; or (b) the number of hours in the employee’s “regularly scheduled shift” at the basic minimum hourly rate.”[i] In inclement weather or a natural disaster, call-in pay will be due regardless of whether or not an employee was called in or showed up for work during their regularly scheduled shift and is informed at that time, the organization is closed.
- Federal versus State Laws: In this situation, state law will supersede the federal laws related to inclement weather and nonexempt employee pay. State laws on this subject will vary, this is just an example from New York State. Be aware of legal requirements during this season of unpredictable weather. If a nonexempt employee is working from home (emails, phone calls, etc.) during the inclement weather, this would also constitute payment for hours worked.
Communication is critical in situations involving inclement weather or natural disasters. We need to be proactive with our communication, while ensuring our employees know about closures prior to showing up for work. Communication should be the normal communication process in the organization (phone, email, text, etc.)
I wrote about this topic last year as well. Cyber thieves continue to file fake tax returns and claim refunds. Recently the thieves have posed as company executives and have obtained protected information from organizations about the employees.
Below are links to helpful resources regarding these scams: