Winter weather can foul up more than the roads. Employees who aren't comfortable driving will come in late, leave early, or just stay home. Mass transit delays can take a similar toll. To avoid pay-related misunderstandings, it's important to know the rules of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act () road. Note that your state wage and hour laws may vary.
Rules For Non-
Non-exempt employees need to be paid for every hour worked and do not need to be paid for time not worked. Consequently, if non-exempts come in late, leave early, choose to stay home, or the company chooses to close, they only need to be paid for the time actually worked.
Non-exempts can receive pay for time not worked if your company allows them to use accrued leave. If company policy does not allow this, or an employee does not have any accrued time available and employees are prohibited from borrowing unearned time, then the employee is out of luck.
Sometimes, employers elect to sweeten the pot for non-exempts who trek into work in inclement weather by paying them for a half-day even if they are at work for only an hour or two. In a handful of states, so-called show-up or reporting pay laws require that employers pay employees for a minimum amount of time for making the effort to come into work. Helpful hint: When figuring non-exempts' hours worked for overtime calculations, count only the time they spent on premises working.
What can you do if a non-needs to be on-call during inclement weather? You may incur liability — and employee resentment — if you require them to drive in dangerous weather conditions. Instead, offer to put them up close to their worksites, if possible. Note that while on-call time is generally not compensable, you may need to pay employees for this on-call time, since they're not at home, and they may not be able to use this time effectively for their own purposes.
In situations where your company doesn't open due to early morning bad weather, beware ofasking employees to be prepared to come in later in the day if the weather clears up. Such a directive could turn the time employees are at home waiting into compensable on-call waiting time.
Rules For Exempt Employees
Exempt employees receive the same salary each week regardless of the number of hours they work. Exempts who work a partial day due to a late arrival or early departure must still be paid their full salaries; however, you may debit their accrued leave banks for the time not worked. Helpful hint: Specify in the company's policy how late is late enough (or how early is early enough) to trigger a deduction. If they don't have accrued leave available and you don't allow employees to borrow time, they must receive their full pay.
If exempts choose to take the whole day off, you may deduct from their pay or accrued leave bank, since it's personal time off.
If the company closes for a full day, and you have a bona fide, you may deduct from exempts' accrued leave bank. If you don't have a bona fide benefits plan, or the employee has no accrued time available, then they must receive their full pay. If the company closes for a full workweek, exempts need not be paid.
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