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FLSA: Inclement Weather

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Pay obligations differ during inclement weather closures primarily based on the worker's Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) classification. Additionally, some state laws may come into play depending on the circumstances involved.

Nonexempt employees: Under the FLSA, employers are only required to pay hourly, nonexempt employees for hours worked. Some states do have "report-in" or "call-in" pay laws that require employers to pay nonexempt employees if they show up to work as scheduled, but are sent home or sent home earlier than scheduled. Employers should check their state laws for such requirements. Otherwise, employers are not required to pay hourly, nonexempt employees for business closures or early closures.

Exempt employees: Exempt employees almost always must be paid when they work any portion of a workweek, including situations of inclement weather and natural disaster. The DOL provides a list of the instances in which an employer is permitted to dock exempt employee pay, and business closures are not one of the permitted deductions. If an employer sends exempt employees home early because of inclement weather or pending natural disaster, an employer is obligated to pay exempt workers for the entire day. If an employer decides to close for an entire day because of inclement weather, an employer is still required to pay exempt employees for the entire day. The only instance in which an employer is permitted to not pay exempt employees because of inclement weather or a pending natural disaster is when a business closes for an entire week and exempt employees perform no work during that week. There is also no obligation to pay an exempt employee when the business remains open during inclement weather and an exempt employee chooses to take the entire day off for personal reasons.

Read the rest of the HRQA:
Our company decided to close early due to inclement weather and we may need to close completely tomorrow. What are our obligations in terms of pay?
SHRM HRQA

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Law Firm Articles

Pay Freeze? Winter Weather and the FLSA
Franczek | Jan 2019

Inclement Weather Preparedness Includes Readying for Employee Questions on How Office Closures Affect Pay, Leaves of Absence, and More
Ford Harrison | Nov 2018

Winter Is Coming…So What Should Employers Do To Prepare?
See the first section titled You Know Nothing (About) Snow: Paying Employees During Snowstorms
Fisher Phillips | Oct 2018

Employer Survival Toolkit for Natural Disasters and Inclement Weather
Ward & Smith | Oct 2018

When Do Grown-Ups Get Snow Days? Reviewing the FLSA's Inclement Weather Rules
Stites & Harbison | Jan 2018

Related Reading

What Bomb Cyclone? When Work Works Winners Weather Storms with Workflex
The SHRM Blog | Jan 2018

Some Deductions for Salaried Staff Are Permitted
SHRM | Dec 2017

Telecommuting Policies When Inclement Weather Strikes
Proskauer via The SHRM Blog | Oct 2017

PTO Use May Be Required During Inclement Weather
SHRM | Jan 2016

How Do Snow Days Affect FMLA Leave?
Franczek Radelet | Jan 2016

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