With Winter in full swing, employers should have a policy in place regarding office closures and paid time off related to winter storms.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are permitted “to require exempt and nonexempt employees to use accrued leave for absences, even when employers are closed during a snowstorm”.
An employer can deduct a full day’s pay from an exempt employee if the absence is due to a personal reason, such as a fear of driving during snow storms, but must use caution as this could affect employee morale.
[Y]ou do so at your own peril,” cautioned Laura Elkayam and Matthew Feery, attorneys with Much Shelist in Chicago. “Apart from risking an incorrect application of the law, employers risk ruining morale.”
Additionally, it is important for employers to treat exempt and non-exempt employees equally, allowing non-exempt employees to use PTO if they will not deduct pay from exempt employees when bad weather strikes.
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The information included in this blog post originally appeared in an article from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) on December 31, 2018.