Why Your Company Needs a Snow Day Clause

“Do I even dare to go to work today?” If you’re anything like me the thought crossed your mind this morning as well. With all the snow Michigan got this weekend it made it near possible for some of us to get out of our driveways, let alone get to the road. Clearly, I was able to get myself through the snow (after some extreme shoveling) and make it into the office today. But, many of my co-workers did not. What does it mean for businesses when employees are forced to call-in due to extreme weather conditions? 

PTO, Snow day, or Personal day?

When the weather makes it impossible to get to work it becomes unclear how to label the time off. While some companies has policies set in place to eliminate the gray area, many companies do not. According to the FLSA, you do not have to pay non-exempt employees for time not worked (extreme weather included). To clarify, non-exempt employees usually receive pay by the hour as opposed to salary. What this means is if your business closes due to weather, or if employees simply cannot make it in, you are not required to pay them (assuming they are non-exempt). 

Can I Work From Home?

Working from home is an achievable reality for certain employees, especially those who use software as a service (SaaS). If you work in payroll or HR and need to process a payroll for your upcoming check date you can easily do so from home (or anywhere with internet). As long as your employer gives you permission to work from home you should be able to save that paid time off for another day. 

Put a Policy in Place

Drafting a policy for such occasions is wise and eliminates confusion. Say for example an employee cannot make it in due to bad weather, you as the employer can require said employee to use vacation time or paid time off. This also helps when dealing with salaried employees who couldn’t make it in. Putting a policy in place that covers both exempt and non-exempt employees will save you a lot of grief when inclement weather hits. 

If you’re still wondering what is considered legal, consult a lawyer for advice. The more you know, the better off you’ll be when Mother Nature hits.