Companies in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are sometimes forced to close for a day or more because of snow. Workers are likewise sometimes unable to make it into work at companies that remain open because of snow. When workers are forced to remain home because of businesses remaining closed because of snow or when they are unable to get to work because of inclement weather, they might wonder whether they are entitled to be paid for the time that they missed. Several factors, including your status as an employee, state law, federal law, and company policy, are all important in determining whether you should be paid for time missed from work during snow days. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can evaluate the various factors and explain whether you should be paid for snow days or time missed from work because of other types of bad weather.
Bad weather and pay
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act is administered by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. This agency is tasked with establishing the standards of employment, including overtime, the minimum wage, and others. The Wage and Hour Division states that the way in which employers are required to pay their employees depends on whether they are exempt or non-exempt. State laws also govern when and how employees must be paid. Employers have to comply with both the state and federal regulations for paying their workers.
Non-exempt or statutory employees are workers that are entitled to overtime pay. Most statutory employees are paid an hourly wage instead of a salary and receive overtime for the hours over 40 in a week that they work. Federal law does not require employers to pay non-exempt employees for days that they are unable to work because of bad weather, including when the company closes and when the employees themselves cannot make it into work because of the weather conditions. New Jersey does have a reporting time pay law, however. Under this law, employees who report to work must be paid a minimum of one hour’s worth of wages. This means that if a non-exempt worker shows up to work, and the business decides to close for the day after 20 minutes have elapsed, the worker is entitled to be paid for the hour instead of for 20 minutes.
Opinions are published by the Wage and Hour Division to offer guidance to employers that are trying to figure out how they must pay exempt workers during times of inclement weather. Exempt employees are workers who are not entitled to receive overtime pay. These workers receive salaries and are required to earn a specific minimum weekly amount. The pay for exempt employees who are unable to work because of bad weather varies by whether they have accrued paid time off, the company’s leave policy, and other factors. The guidance for employers regarding pay for exempt employees also differs based on whether the business closes because of the weather or when the workers choose to remain home.
Pay for exempt employees when the company closes because of the weather
When companies close because of the weather, they must pay their exempt employees their regular weekly salary while they are closed. Even if an exempt employee was not at work for the full week, he or she must be paid his or her full salary for that week.
Employers are allowed to require their exempt employees to use the leave that they have accrued for days that they are unable to work because of a closure. The leave might include vacation days, paid time off, or other types of leave. If an exempt employee is unable to work because of a closure due to the weather and has not accrued leave, the employer must still pay the full weekly salary. The employer is allowed to require the employee to advance leave time, however.
When an exempt employee calls into work because of bad weather
Companies that are open during periods of bad weather must pay their exempt employees for any day that the workers report to work. For example, if an employer closes the company during the day because of the weather, the business will still be required to pay the exempt employees who reported to work their full salaries. When an exempt employee chooses to not go to work because of the weather, the employer can subtract time from the employee’s accrued leave for the absence. If the exempt worker does not have a leave balance, the employer may deduct the missed time from the employee’s pay when the worker misses the full day. To learn about your employer’s policy about inclement weather, talk to your supervisor or your company’s human resources department.
Some companies have policies that allow workers to work remotely during periods of bad weather. These workers will receive their full pay without having to use leave that they have accrued. You can talk to the human resources department or your supervisor to find out whether you might be allowed to work remotely instead of taking time off during snowy weather. If you are allowed to work from home, your employer should pay you your regular rate of pay for those hours.
Talk to the employment law attorneys at Swartz Swidler
The state and federal pay regulations can be complicated and confusing for many workers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. If you believe that your employer failed to pay you when it was required to do so, you might benefit from consulting with the experienced employment law attorneys at Swartz Swidler. Our lawyers can review the circumstances and facts of what occurred and advise you about whether you might have valid grounds to seek additional payment from your employer. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation by filling out our online contact form or calling our law firm at 856.685.7420.