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Should You Be Paid For Snow or Hurricane Days?

Inclement weather can often be frustrating to employees as it hampers one’s  ability to commute to work.. Missing work may affect your next paycheck.  Determining whether you have the ability to work from home, or are entitled to be paid your wages during inclement weather days depends on the applicability of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Employees who are paid on an hourly basis are often classified as non-exempt under the FLSA, and are only paid for the actual hours that they work.  If you are a non-exempt employee and your place of business is closed, or you are not able to attend work because of inclement weather; your  employer is not required to pay you for the hours you were not able to work.  In some instances employers may allow employees to use vacation time or personal time to make up for the time absent. However, the decision to pay the employee for absenteeism during severe weather conditions is not required under the FLSA and is within the sole discretion of your employer.

The issue becomes more complicated for exempt employees. Usually an exempt employee is someone who is  paid a set salary of at least $23,600, and whose work duties are executive, administrative, or professional in nature. To qualify for one of these exemptions, an employee must meet certain requirements based on his or her job duties, and must meet the base salary standard.

When the employee’s worksite is closed due to inclement weather, FLSA considers the employee “ready, willing and able to work.”  In this situation, an employer may not deduct any wages from an exempt employee’s salary if the worksite is closed for less than one workweek. However,  if the worksite is closed for the entire workweek, and the employee performs no work during that week, the employer may choose to not pay the employee for that week and still maintain the employee’s exempt status. Given modern technology, employers must be mindful that exempt employees may still be able to work remotely, and in such situations, no wage deductions should be made in the employee’s absence. Another common scenario is that the worksite is open for business, but the employee is unable to travel to work due to inclement conditions. In this case, FLSA allows the employer to reduce an exempt employee’s salary in full-day increments if he or she is absent for one or more full day.

Many employers have different policies as regards paying their employees during inclement weather days, and more employers are embracing the the opportunity to have employees work from home or a remote location.  It is important for you to read your Employee Handbook, and ask if there are any other policies that the Company may have with regard to  inclement weather days.

Should you have any questions as to whether you should be getting paid for inclement weather days, visit our website www.lineschfirm.com.

By: Daniela Carrion