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HR Tip: Inclement weather and employee pay

While the rules for nonexempt employees are straightforward - they are paid for the hours they work, the rules for exempt employees are governed by company policy and state laws. If the employer closes for some of a workweek due to inclement weather, it must pay exempt employees their salary if the employee performs any work during the workweek, even if remotely. However, if state law permits, the employer can have a written policy that requires employees to use their accrued paid time off (PTO) during inclement weather. In most cases, if an employer stays open during inclement weather and an exempt employee chooses not to work, that is a personal decision and the day may be docked.

There are potentially negative employee reactions to such a policy, particularly if the company has closed for the day and weather conditions were such that employees could have made it in to work. For this reason, it is important that employers have a carefully thought out PTO policy. The policy should include the rules that apply to exempt and nonexempt employees when the employer is open during inclement weather vs. when it is closed, the expectations about working remotely, and how and when to report all time worked.


Attorney Jeff Novak, author of the blog,, notes: "Although the FMLA rules do not directly address this question, the general rule for counting FMLA leave during a holiday week would likely apply. So, if the employee is out on FMLA for the entire week, then yes, you can count the snow day against the employee's 12 weeks of FMLA leave. If the employee worked any part of the week, then only the days the employee would actually have been expected to report to work should be counted as FMLA leave."