Just when we think winter is just about over all of a sudden we’re hit with another snow storm that seems to cover the entire East coast in 2 feet of the slippery white nuisance. At this time while most schools in the city are closed businesses are expected to be prepared for some of the worst inclement weather conditions to hit New York City from snow storms to hurricanes. Businesses are especially vulnerable to changes in the weather as any damage caused by bad weather can damage their bottom line whether that be through a power outage from a damaged power line or flooding from heavy rain or in this case being buried in snow. In this scenario, there are a few things an owner must think about when it comes to protecting their business and that is what should they do when inclement weather closes their business and what to do when their employees can’t make it?
In this case, business owners and their employees can turn to the policies of the business in regards to what to do in the event employees can’t make it to work or arrive late. Some places have agreements that are outlines of what employees are expected to do under specific weather related instances which will determine whether or not a missed day at work is excusable or not, what procedures should be taken and whether the employee can make up for a lost day at work at another time. A sensitive issue that comes up in these circumstances revolve around payment to which under the Fair Labor Standards Act you’re not required to pay non-exempted employees for example for time not worked even under bad weather conditions. Since they’re paid by the hour even if the business is closed you are still not required to pay them for the hours gone though they are allowed to use their vacation days or other forms of paid time to make up for the days they’ve lost.
Exempted employees, on the other hand, can’t have their salaries reduced if their employers can’t make it to work for less than a week and be cautious about reducing their weekly wage if they can’t make it to work on time. Your business should invest in implementing a policy that addresses these issues that will work for both exempt and non-exempted workers. It should be noted that according to the Labor Department workers who choose not to report to work even though their place of work is open because of poor weather conditions are considered to be absent for personal reasons and is not considered an absence because of illness or disability. On the other hand, if the employee is fully able to work and the business is not according to the Fair Labor Standards Act “deductions may not be made for time when work is not available.” If there are any concerns or inquiries that need addressing business owners and employees alike can look to the employment regulations at a state and federal level and can consult with legal experts on the matter.