Inclement Weather Policy: Employee Safety and Pay

During this winter season, it is
important to remember two main parts when reviewing inclement weather policies:
employee safety and compensation.

In a quote from Paul DeCamp, the
former administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division,
he notes that “Employers should give serious thought
to allowing employees to stay home on days when there is a significantly
elevated risk of a traffic accident, as no employer wants to see an injury or
fatality occur because an employee felt obligated to come to work even though
the roads were not safe.” In some scenarios, employees, such as health workers
and emergency responders, are obligated to work even in that case of inclement

Decamp also commented, "It is important
for an employer to use common sense in these circumstances, based on a
realistic assessment of the hazards an employee would have faced in getting to
or from work, It is not usually worthwhile in the long run to come down hard on
an employee for refusing to drive on icy roads, or during heavy snowfall with
limited visibility and reports of numerous traffic accidents, or when there are
severe service disruptions on public transportation.”

Nonexempt Employees

Nonexempt employees make the pay parts
of inclement weather policy rather simple. Employers are not required by the
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to pay nonexempt employees if they do not show
in the case of inclement weather.

Even if a worker might not be able to
make it into the workplace, that does not necessarily mean a company can afford
to lose those working hours. In cases such as this, companies should have
protocol where nonexempt employees can log hours of work from home so they can
be justly compensated. This protocol for home working should also outline how
many hours nonexempt employees will be allowed to log. This is to avoid
situations where an employee normally working six to eight hours a week, but
then when working at home they log ten+ hours.

Employers need to ensure they are
fulfilling State laws regarding local wage and hours. The law can help to
outline how companies should react in disciplining employees for not arriving
to work during inclement weather. “In
Delaware and Pennsylvania, employers are prohibited from disciplining or
terminating employees who are absent during a declared state of emergency.”

Exempt Employees

With exempt employees, if the
workplace is closed for only a portion of a week, a company’s employees are still
entitled to their full salary for the work week. If an employee has vacation
days or paid time off (PTO), employers do have the right to take those days. In
the instance that the employee has used all vacation days and PTO, the employer
must still pay the full salary for the week.

While employers do have the option to
reduce an employee’s PTO and vacation days if there is a workplace closure, it
is important to keep in mind how the employees will react to this practice. For
instance, the weather is not as bad as originally predicted and a company
decided to close for the day, employees will not be happy if they had to use a
vacation day or PTO when they could have had the chance to work.

If a company fails to pay salary to
exempt employees when there is a partial week closure or reducing pay for early
dismissal from work, they could jeopardize their FLSA-exempt status. In the
situation of a full week closure, FLSA does not require employers to pay exempt
employees, but PTO can be applied.

Inclement Weather Policy

When developing an inclement weather
policy, the following should be addressed:

How much
advance employees will receive when being notified of closing

How employees
will be notified about the closing

If and how
employees will be compensated during the close

If employees
are allowed to use PTO during the close

How employees
will inform employer about potential delays

Writing policy can be tricky, but
Converge HR Solutions is here to help. Converge HR Solutions offers HR Outsourcing service, which
includes employee handbooks and policies, to help ensure that your company has
a strategic plan on how to combat inclement weather policy. For
more information about how Converge HR Solutions can best serve you, please
visit our website at or
contact us directly by email at or
phone at 610-296-8550.

Article Source:,%202018&SPMID=&SPJD=&SPED=&SPSEG=&SPCERT=&spMailingID=32692890&spUserID=OTI1NTk1MDUyNzMS1&spJobID=1202460162&spReportId=MTIwMjQ2MDE2MgS2

 Image Source: Dmitry FeoktistovTASS/Getty Images


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for Our Monthly Newsletter

white converge hr logo

Reducing time spent on HR operations

Allowing you to focus on growing your business


1055 Westlakes DR, Suite 300, Berwyn, PA 19312

Skip to content