Q. An ice storm recently knocked out power in 87 percent of the city. Our company had no power from Sunday until Wednesday. Some hourly employees showed up to work Monday because they live in surrounding counties and didn't know about the outage. Are we obligated to pay those who showed up but were unable to work? —D.K., Kentucky
A. No. No federal or Kentucky law requires paid weather-emergency days. Some states, however, do require companies to pay “show-up pay” if employees report for a scheduled shift but are sent home.
In the absence of a state law, here are some of your legal options: (1) provide all employees one or more paid snow days per year; (2) provide employees who aren't notified of a workplace shutdown and show up a full day's pay, or something less (i.e., two hours' pay); (3) give employees the option to use accrued paid leave (i.e., sick, vacation, personal days); or (4) provide unpaid leave.
Safest course: Don't dock employees for snow days—especially exempt workers. Always check local as well as state law.