Winter turns up heat on pay compliance

snowy weatherThe Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is generally a straightforward law—for most of the year. But winter weather—and the delays and closures that sometimes accompany it—can make wage-and-hour compliance more difficult. When employees have a hard time getting to work, here’s the FLSA guidance you need.

Employees come in late, leave early

Employees may straggle in late or leave early because of bad roads, or they may decide to just stay home. Whether you must pay for the time not worked depends on whether employees are nonexempt or exempt.

Nonexempts need only be paid for the time they work. If they arrive late, leave early or stay home, they don’t get paid for time not worked.

Exempts may have their pay docked if they stay home for a full day. Exempts who come in late or leave early may have their leave banks debited in partial-day increments provided they continue to receive their full salaries even if they run out of accrued time and continue to take partial days off.

Specify how late is late enough (or how early is early enough), to trigger a partial-day deduction.

BP Handbook D

You’re closed

If you decide to keep the business closed for a day or two:

Nonexempts can take a paid or unpaid day off, since you pay them only for time worked.

Exempts can be required to take a paid day off provided you have a bona fide benefits plan and they continue to receive payments equal to their guaranteed salary. Note: Exempts who have already run out of accrued time must be paid their full salaries regardless.

Too few employees show up

Employers sometimes reward those who trek in by paying them for a half-day, even if they were at work for only an hour or so.
The pitfall here is overtime. When figuring nonexempts’ regular rates, count as hours worked only the time they spent on the premises; don’t count the extra pay for showing up when figuring their regular rates.