No matter where your company is located, the impact of inclement weather and natural disasters cannot be underestimated. Regardless of your company’s geographical location, the disruptive forces of nature can wreak havoc on regular operations. From hindering employee attendance to compelling temporary business closures, the need for a comprehensive inclement weather policy in your business disaster planning cannot be overstated.

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.

4. Communication Protocol

Establishing a clear and efficient communication protocol is vital to ensure seamless information dissemination during weather-related challenges. In the communication plan, outline the precise methods through which the company will interact with its workforce in the event of weather-induced closures or alterations to work routines. Clearly state whether communication will be conducted through emails, text messages, the company’s official website, or other relevant platforms. This will guarantee that employees receive prompt and consistent updates regarding work expectations during inclement weather conditions.

5. Flexible Work Arrangements

Demonstrate the company’s commitment to safeguarding employee well-being and safety by underlining the significance of maintaining a conducive work environment, even in adverse weather situations. Highlight the array of flexible work options available to employees to accommodate their diverse needs. Stress the viability of remote work alternatives, adjusted work hours, or a hybrid approach that provides employees with the flexibility to balance their professional responsibilities with the demands of inclement weather. This approach not only ensures business continuity but also shows a deep concern for the health and safety of the workforce.

6. Safety Measures

Prioritize the safety of employees by furnishing them with comprehensive guidelines on precautionary measures to adopt during challenging weather conditions. Encourage employees to exercise caution while driving in inclement weather, promoting safe driving practices that minimize the risk of accidents. Emphasize the importance of dressing appropriately for the weather to prevent discomfort or health issues due to exposure. Furthermore, advise employees to stay well-informed about road conditions and weather forecasts through reliable sources. By adhering to these safety measures, employees can navigate adverse weather conditions with confidence and reduce the likelihood of accidents or discomfort.

In a world where uncertainty is the only constant, the implementation of a robust inclement weather policy emerges as an imperative for businesses of all sizes and types. Beyond the bottom line, such a policy underscores a commitment to employee welfare and safety.

By proactively devising a strategy that embraces flexibility, adheres to legal mandates, and prioritizes effective communication, businesses can weather the storm – quite literally. Don’t wait for the next weather-related crisis to strike; fortify your business with a well-crafted policy today. For tailored guidance and expert assistance, reach out to LBMC Employment Partners without delay. The resilience of your business starts with the foresight you exhibit today.