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How does inclement weather affect employee pay?

Just a few weeks ago, much of the East Coast was all but shut down thanks to a massive winter storm. Indeed, while we would like to imagine that this was a meteorological anomaly or that warmer days are just around the corner, the reality is that we are still in the middle of winter and still vulnerable to major weather events.

This naturally raises the question as to what employees can expect in terms of pay when the weather turns nasty, making travel difficult or even forcing businesses to close.

What does the law generally have to say regarding hourly employees?

Hourly -- or nonexempt -- employees are generally only paid for the time they work. Accordingly, whether they decide not to come in for the day because of the weather or their employer decides to close, they have no right to payment.

It's important to note, however, that they can be permitted to use vacation time for the day off, and that this is true even if the business is closed for the day.

What does the law generally have to say regarding salaried employees?

Whether salaried -- or exempt -- employees are paid when the weather turns nasty hinges on whether their employer decides to stay open.

  • If the business stays open and the salaried employee doesn't come in: Salaried employees who take the day off may be considered to have taken a personal day. While these full-day absences can go unpaid, employers can allow the use of vacation time.
  • If the business stays open, and the salaried employee comes in late or for part of the day: Salaried employees who come in late or work part of the day due to the weather are generally entitled to payment for a full day of work. However, employers could require the use of vacation time to cover the partial absence.
  • If the business closes for the day: Salaried employees are generally entitled to payment for a full day of work even if the business decides to close for the day.

Here's hoping that we see a relatively calm winter season here in Pennsylvania.

In the meantime, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you believe that your rights have been violated in any manner, including the wages to which you are legally entitled

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