No matter where your company is located, inclement weather or natural disasters can have an effect on your business. Employees may not be able to make it to work, or the business may be forced to close.
Is Your Business Prepared for Inclement Weather?
Every business needs an inclement weather work policy. While winter weather is the most common source of work-related weather absences, warmer parts of the country also deal with weather events like flooding, ice storms, hurricanes, or tornadoes. Here are some of the best practices on how to handle extreme weather and create an inclement weather work policy.
1. Prepare a Plan
Every business should prepare a plan based on the type and frequency of inclement weather that their area experiences. These plans should be laid out in the employee handbook with clear instructions. This policy may also be included in the work from home policy, if your business has one. In addition to a work policy, it’s important to have an emergency plan in place for natural disasters or extreme weather situations that compromise the safety of your employees while they are at work.
2. Focus on Flexibility
Whatever policy you create should focus on the safety of your employees. Some employees may be more affected by weather than others. Some may have children at home and be concerned about school closures, while others may live very far from work. Try to offer your employees a variety of options to fit with their lives. Be sure that whatever policy you do put in place limits work travel during inclement weather. If you force your employees to travel and they get in an accident, you may be liable.
3. Live by the Law
Under federal law, employers are only required to pay hourly workers for the time they’ve worked. This means that if an employee calls out due to weather or leaves early, they will not need to be paid. But, laws regarding pay when a business is closed for inclement weather vary state by state. Some states require businesses to pay an employee for their full shift even if they are sent home early.
For salaried employees, it becomes more complicated. Generally, the Department of Labor says that employers are required to pay their salaried employees in full if a business is closed for less than a week and the employees perform some work. If a business is closed longer, the employer may not be required to pay employees their full salary.
Don’t wait for a weather emergency to get an inclement weather work policy in place. Now is the time to review your attendance and pay policies, so let LBMC Employment Partners help you create a policy that’s right for you. Contact us today!