Docking pay for snow-day absences: When is it legal? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Docking pay for snow-day absences: When is it legal?

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The snow's coming down pretty good and an exempt employee calls to say she can't make it in today because her car is stuck. Can you deduct a full day's pay from her salary for that missed day? Yes, according to a pair of new U.S. Labor Department opinion letters on the issue.

What if your workplace closes down because of the bad weather? In that case, it's a different story. You can't dock her pay, but you can require her to use accrued leave time for the missed day.

Two Labor Department opinion letters help clarify the confusing issue of how to treat the hours that exempt employees miss because of inclement weather. While opinion letters don't carry the weight of law, courts are deferential to them and they give you an idea of how the Labor Department would rule in similar circumstances.

The flowchart below shows the yes/no calls to make when deciding whether you must pay employees when inclement weather interrupts work.

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