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Roads closed due to emergency: Still pay staff?

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Q. During snowstorms and floods, the government sometimes declares a state of emergency in certain counties. No one is permitted to be on roads except essential employees and emergency vehicles. Do we have to pay employees who can’t come to work because of the restrictions? — D.S., Pennsylvania

A. Exempt employees generally must be paid their full weekly salaries in any week in which they perform any work. While there are some exceptions to this general rule, inability to work due to inclement weather is not one of them. Therefore, you do have to pay your exempt ­employees for these absences. (You could permit or require these employees to use vacation or paid time off benefits for these absences.)

With regard to nonexempt employees, if it’s permitted under your policies, you could also require that these employees use paid time off. Federal law and most state laws do not require an employer to pay nonexempt employees for absences caused by natural disasters.



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