During the winter months, employees often have to be absent because
of bad weather. How should we deal with these absences? Can we allow
employees to make up the time if we don’t pay them?
[Creating HR Policies or Employee Handbook?]
A. Employers with operations
in areas that experience severe weather, such as winter storms,
flooding, or hurricanes, should include provisions in their policies
for weather-related absences. Most employers discuss weather-related
absences in their attendance policies. Any policy dealing with
attendance during periods of inclement weather should give employees
an incentive to get to work and should distinguish between nonexempt
and exempt employees.
Many employers do not pay nonexempt
employees for weather-related absences, although the absence is
excused. Others allow nonexempt employees to use accrued paid
vacation or personal days so that they do not lose compensation. A
few employers pay all nonexempt employees for the day but recognize
the efforts of those who worked by providing them with an extra
floating personal day.
Some employers allow nonexempt
employees to make up time missed because of inclement weather.
However, if the employee makes up the time in a week in which he
also works 40 hours, the employer will owe him overtime for the
additional hours worked over 40. For this reason, many employers do
not allow employees to make up the time unless it is scheduled
within the same workweek as the time missed.
Exempt employees generally should
be paid for absences that result from inclement weather if they have
worked during any part of the workweek in which the absence occurs.
Employers that make deductions from exempt employees’ compensation
for absences caused by inclement weather may jeopardize the
employees’ exempt status and incur liability for any overtime they
may have worked. Deductions for absences of a day or more because of
inclement weather are not specifically allowed for exempt employees
by the Fair Labor Standards Act regulations and, therefore, may not