Know the Payroll Rules for Inclement Weather Shutdowns

Know the Payroll Rules for Inclement Weather Shutdowns


It is that time of year again when inclement weather can shut down business for days at a time. If you own or manage a company located in an area known for bad winter weather, you are already familiar with how things go. But do you know what the rules are for payroll during inclement weather shutdowns? If not, you need to know.

Payroll service providers make it their business to understand the rules at both the federal and state levels. Smaller businesses that handle payroll in-house may not, which is why outsourcing with a company like BenefitMall is so helpful. Be that as it may, the most important things you need to know about handling payroll during inclement weather shutdowns are explained below. We begin with defining exempt and nonexempt employees.

  • Exempt and Nonexempt

For the purposes of this discussion, it is enough to know that exempt employees are salaried employees who do not need to be paid overtime. Nonexempt employees are just the opposite. They are usually hourly workers who get paid time-and-and-half for every hour over 40 worked in a given week.

Knowing the difference between exempt and nonexempt employees is important in that it touches nearly every other aspect of payroll. It certainly applies to how to handle payroll during inclement weather shutdowns. Exempt employees are handled one way, nonexempt another.

  • Paying Exempt Employees

Since exempt employees are not typically paid hourly, their pay is based on a daily amount regardless of how many hours they actually put in. This becomes critical during a shutdown. If a business shuts down due to inclement weather and exempt employees still perform some amount of work, be it coming to the office or working from home, they are entitled to a full day’s pay.

This means that all an exempt employee has to do is work a few minutes, and prove that he or she has done so, in order to receive full pay for the day. If said employee is given the opportunity to work from home but choose not to do so, he or she is no longer entitled to pay for that day.

  • Paying Nonexempt Employees

Nonexempt employees are entitled to receive pay for every hour they work. This does not change due to a weather-related shutdown. Let’s say you have a number of hourly workers capable of working at home should it become necessary. As long as those workers actually perform work at home during an inclement weather shutdown, they are entitled to their regular hourly wage for those hours worked.

If nonexempt employees cannot work from home and are unable to make it into work due to inclement weather, they are not entitled to pay for the hours missed. In most cases, missed time caused by inclement weather is considered personal time and cannot be used as justification to fire hourly workers who cannot make it in.

Should either exempt or nonexempt employers show up at work during inclement weather shutdowns and are sent home, whether they are paid depends on state law. Unfortunately, there is no uniform rule under the FLSA.

Winter weather can wreak havoc on businesses when it is severe enough to cause shutdowns. As a business owner yourself, you need to make it your business to understand how payroll and labor laws apply during said shutdowns. Make sure you are paying your employees every penny owed.

If you need help, third-party payroll providers like BenefitMall can handle things for you. They offer a full range of packages including full-service payroll and online solutions.

Categories: Business

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