Inclement Weather and the Consequences Under the Wage and Hour Laws
“Do we have to pay our employees for days that the office is closed due to inclement weather?"
Non-exempt employees (entitled to overtime pay) do not need to be paid for time they do not work (be careful however to assure they are paid for any work from home).
Exempt employees (not entitled to overtime pay) must receive their full salary for any week in which the office is closed for less than a full workweek. If your office is closed for an entire workweek, you can inform all employees of the closure and do not need to pay them, unless working remotely.
“The office closed after a number of employees had already reported for work. Do we have to pay them for the day?”
Exempt employees who report to work but are sent home by their employer must receive their salary for that day.
Non-exempt employees who report to work but are sent home must be paid for all hours worked that day (note: some states have minimum pay requirements for non-exempt employees for any day in which they report to work).
“Can we require our employees to use available vacation days or other paid time off during a weather-related office closure or absence?”
Yes. There is no prohibition giving PTO and requiring it be taken on specific days. As long as it is permitted under the applicable PTO policy or agreement, employers can reduce an employee’s accrued PTO bank for either partial or full day absences, without violating the wage and hour laws.