Ask HR: Are We Required to Pay Employees for Weather-Related Closures?
Ask HR: Are We Required to Pay Employees for Weather-Related Closures?

Ask HR: Are We Required to Pay Employees for Weather-Related Closures?

In some states, winter is coming. In other states, winter has arrived in full force. Many offices will have to close at some point this season due to inclement weather. This brings the question: do you have to pay employees when your office is closed for weather-related reasons?

You can bet our partners at HR Support Center know the answer to this one. Read on...

Question:
If our company closes due to inclement weather, are we required to pay employees?

Answer from Eric, HR Pro:
Non-exempt employees need to be paid only for actual hours worked plus any reporting time pay that may be required by the state. In accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, however, exempt employees must be paid when the employer closes due to inclement weather.

This is an area where you should also be consistent with your own policy and practice. If you have been paying all employees--regardless of their employment classification--for hours they would have worked had you not closed for bad weather, then you should continue to do so. If you would like to end that practice, create a clear written policy with alternative guidelines and distribute it to all employees prior to implementation.

If, on the other hand, you pay non-exempt employees only for actual hours worked, be sure to compensate them for any applicable reporting time pay. In many states, hourly employees who have arrived at work and are then sent home early as a result of lack of work, or inability to work, must be paid for a minimum portion of their scheduled shift.

For the New Jersey location referred to in the original question, hourly employees should be paid for their regular rate for no less than one hour or however long they actually worked prior to dismissal, whichever is greater (e.g., if the employee works only five minutes, you must still pay for an entire hour). Your [refers to the asker of this question's offices] locations in California, though subject to reporting time pay when employees are sent home for lack of work, will not have to pay employees for more than the time actually worked if they are sent home due to a utility outage, Act of God, or some other condition over which you, the employer, do not have control, including inclement weather.

As an alternative to having an idle workforce for a day, you could look for creative workarounds. Can employees complete their work at home? This option might save you from having to pay employees for time they haven’t worked or from reducing the number of hours they expected to work.

Do you have questions like this? A year of HR Support Center is cheaper than an hour of a typical attorney's time. Ask us instead.


Eric, HR Pro*Eric has extensive experience in HR, management, and training. He has held several senior HR positions, including as the HR & Operations Manager for an award-winning interactive marketing agency and as HR Director for a national law firm. Eric graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics from the University of Oregon with a minor in Business Administration. Eric is also active in the community, volunteering with the regional Human Resources Management Association Advocacy Team and with youth training programs.*


Previous Ask HR Articles

Can We Prohibit Employees From Discussing Their Salaries?
How Should We Respond to a New Employee with a Bad Attitude?
What Should a Telecommuting Policy Include?

More to Discover

2019 HR & Compliance Web Summit: Executive Summary

2019 HR & Compliance Web Summit: Executive Summary

With 20,000+ registrations, this was Paycor’s biggest and best web summit yet!Industry experts like Jennifer McClure offered actionable insights and advice on all things HR, from self-care for the HR pro to in-the-news compliance issues. If you missed the live webinars you can watch them on our on-demand webinar page.In the meantime, here’s a quick overview of each session. 5 Steps to Become a Strategic HR Leader | Speaker: Lori Kleiman In today’s business environment only 20% of HR professionals interact with the executive suite. Lori Kleiman says it’s time to stop waiting for your gold embroidered invitation and finally take your seat on the leadership team. Ready to become a strategic HR leader? Follow this 5 step plan: Engage...

Payroll Risks and Controls: Everything You Need to Know

Payroll Risks and Controls: Everything You Need to Know

Believe it or not, running payroll is a risky business The IRS estimates that 40% of small to medium-size businesses end up paying a payroll penalty each year. Whether you’re a large organization or a small one, there’s always a risk of payroll errors leading to fines, penalties and sometimes litigation. Protect yourself from fraud and human error Businesses that run payroll on their own, especially small businesses, are at a much higher risk of being disrupted by fraudulent activity and human error. From ghost employees to hour padding to buddy punching, when a company lacks the appropriate internal controls to manage its payroll, it can run into big trouble. Here are 6 common payroll risks and controls you can implement to mitigate...

401(k) Match Limits 2019: What Payroll Administrators  Need to Know

401(k) Match Limits 2019: What Payroll Administrators Need to Know

It’s a relatively small change, but it’s a change for payroll administrators to take notice of. As of November 2018, your employees’ contribution limits for their 401(k) increased to $19,000 from $18,500. The increase raises the total annual contribution amount (employee plus employer contribution) to $56,000 or 100% of the employee’s salary if they make less than that. Most companies typically offer 3-6% in matching funds, but there is no limit to the amount an employer can contribute as long as the annual cap isn’t reached. 2018 & 2019 401(k) Match Limits Defined Contribution Plan Limits 2019 2018 Difference Maximum employee contribution $19,000 $18,500 +$500 Catch-up contribution for employees aged 50 or older $6,000 $6,000 No...

Webinar: October Web Summit - Compliance from Hire to Retire

Webinar: October Web Summit - Compliance from Hire to Retire

From managing recruiting compliance data to accurately tracking employee hours, you need a partner who can offer the right technology plus expertise to help mitigate risk. Register for this webinar to see how Paycor can help prepare you for all of the compliance challenges in managing the employee lifecycle!We will be reviewing these 4 major areas of compliance: Recruiting Hiring Payroll People Management Speaker: Brett BeilfussBrett has been the Senior Bank Marketing Program Manager for Paycor for the past three years. He works exclusively with Paycor’s Bank and CPA referral partners, whose aim is to help their clients mitigate risk.