Top Ten Tips Disclaimer
Hourly employees may simply be paid for the number of hours they work. If the company's paid leave policy permits it, they may apply available paid leave to the time missed due to bad weather. A company may also go so far as to have an optional benefit allowing regular pay for bad weather days – that would be similar to an extra day of paid vacation, paid personal time off, paid bereavement leave, or similar optional paid leave. Although such paid leave is optional under the law, once it is promised in writing, it must be given according to the terms of the written policy once the conditions for its use have been satisfied.
Salaried non-exempt employees may have their paid leave balances docked, as long as that is consistent with whatever paid leave policy the company has in place. They may also have their pay docked, as long as they have given written authorization for such a deduction from pay (see item 12 in the sample wage deduction authorization agreement in this book for an illustration of how to obtain such authorization).
Salaried exempt employees may not have their pay docked in increments of less than a full workweek at a time for bad-weather absences (see item 7 in the topic on the salary test for exempt employees) – full-week absences could result in pay reductions with proper written authorization (see item 12 in the above sample agreement). Salaried exempt employees may have their available paid leave balances reduced in any increments of time for such absences, consistent with the company's paid leave policy.
Absences due to closure of the business based on bad weather or other similar disaster or emergency condition should not count toward whatever absence limit a business has. On the other hand, if the business is open, and other employees are able to make it in, elective absences by employees may count toward an absence limit. Before such an absence is counted against an employee, the policy should provide the absent employee an opportunity to document how their attendance on such days would not have been possible.
Failure to come into work on a day when authorities have closed area roads and are recommending against travel will likely not be considered disqualifying misconduct in an unemployment claim. An employer would have the burden of proving that the employee really could have come to work, despite the inclement weather conditions.
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