Emergency Preparedness Reminder
By Anne-Marie Storey
I spoke at the Emergency Preparedness Conference in Augusta yesterday on employment issues that can arise from such situations and thought this would be a good opportunity to remind you about potential wage and hour issues arising from emergency situations.
Employers are only required to pay non-exempt employees for hours that are actually worked. Therefore, if a non-exempt employee is unable to get to work due to a natural disaster, the employee does not have to be paid for the missed time.
The rule is different for exempt employees. Generally, these employees are paid on a salary basis which means they receive the same set amount per week not subject to fluctuation or deductions. The following rules would apply to emergency weather-related situations:
If the employer closes the business due to an emergency for only part of a week, a salaried exempt employee must be paid their regular salary for the entire week.
If the business is closed for the entire week and the exempt employee does not work that week, the employee does not have to be paid for the week.
If the business is open but an exempt employee chooses not to work for a full day, this is considered by the DOL to be an absence for a personal reason and a deduction for a full missed day of work can be made.
If the business is open but an exempt employee works only a partial day, the employee must be paid for the entire day. In determining whether an exempt employee has worked any part of a day, employers must keep in mind that work does not just include what is done in the physical workplace. To the contrary, “work” will likely also include activity performed from home and/or from any remote computer-related device and that time has to be factored into the decision as to whether pay is due.