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Q&A: We’re going to close our worksite due to inclement weather. Do we have to pay employees?

Question:

We’re going to close our worksite due to inclement weather. Do we have to pay employees?

Answer from Sarah, PHR, SHRM-CP:

Non-exempt employees need to be paid only for actual hours worked plus any reporting time pay that may be required by the state (this sometimes applies when employees show up for work but are sent home early).

Exempt employees, on the other hand, must be paid when the employer closes due to inclement weather, whether they do any work or not. You may require exempt employees to use accrued vacation or paid time off for the day if that is your regular practice when the workspace closes. However, exempt employees without enough paid time off to cover the absence must still be provided with their regular salary during the closure.

Many companies have inclement weather or emergency closure policy for these sorts of situations. These policies typically address communication in the event of worksite closures and options for employees. You might, for example, allow employees to work from home. If you don’t have a policy like this in place, now might be the time to implement one. You can find an inclement weather policy in the HR Support Center Policy Library.

Picture of Sarah, PHR, SHRM-CP

Sarah, PHR, SHRM-CP

Sarah has extensive Human Resources experience in the legal, software, security and property preservation industries. She has a Business Communications degree from Villa Julie College (now Stevenson University) and a master’s certificate in Human Resources Management and a Strategic Organizational Leadership certification from Villa Nova University. Sarah is also a member of the National Society of Human Resources Management and has managed the HR function for small startup companies to mid-sized/large organizations.

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