Should I have a Bad Weather Policy?

Bad Weather Policy

You should have a written Bad Weather Policy.  Sometimes, you may have an emergency shutdown due to severe weather.  It is important that you let your employees know what your policy is when this occurs.  As part of your Employee Handbook, you should have a policy for inclement weather, stating your pay policy (usually it is “day off without pay”), call-in procedures, and examples of what is considered “bad weather”.

Bad Weather Pay Procedures:  Do you pay employees during an emergency closure?   Are you required to pay your employees during that time?  The answer is “yes”,  ”no”, and “sometimes”.

NO– You do not have to pay hourly employees when the business is closed due to an extended emergency, especially if you have a written policy stating that you do NOT pay during closures due to inclement weather or natural disaster.  Consider purchasing a professionally done Employee Handbook, which will cover this policy along with many others.  We recommend New Wind Business Solutions:
http://www.go2newwind.com/employee-handbooks.html

SOMETIMES– Some states do insist on Reporting-to-Duty pay that says you must pay any employee who shows up to work as scheduled even if there is no work available.  So even if the business is closed, if they make it to the worksite, you have to pay.  So if your business must close, especially for more than a day, have your employees’ phone numbers available so that you can revise their schedules as needed.  The rules differ by state on Reporting-to-Duty Pay, but they usually require a half-day’s pay: 2 hrs minimum, 4 hrs maximum.  See your particular state’s website for details.

YES– Salaried exempt employees must be paid if they work anytime during a workweek and are available to work the remaining days, whether they actually work or not.  You cannot cut an exempt employees pay just because you cannot get your full 40 hours out of them this week, just like you do not have to pay them OT during those busy weeks when they work more than 40 hrs. 

Once again, this is an area where a good Employee Handbook can help.  Set up your employee policies for OT, Exempt Employee Deductions, Inclement Weather, Natural Disaster, and Report to Duty Pay.  Consider a professionally designed Employee Handbook, customized to your business:
http://www.go2newwind.com/employee-handbooks.html

Typical call-in procedures:  Your written bad weather policy should tell your employees what is expected of them.  Usually, it will state that they are to call-in (if phone system is operating).  The call-in is considered an excused absence.  If you pay for bad weather days, you should state the amount of hours and who is eligible (full-time? part-time? temp employees?).

What is considered “bad weather”?  Your written policy should give examples of what is considered inclement weather.  Some typical weather reasons are: snow, whiteout, ice storm, severe flooding, dust storm, hurricane, tornado warning.    (You should also add a paragraph on closure due to such as earthquake, explosion, fire, utility outage, or terrorist attack.)

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