4 Ways to Handle Attendance & Pay During Bad Weather

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attendance policy for exempt employees 4 Ways to Handle Attendance & Pay During Bad Weather

The snow is finally here (sorry, but it was inevitable) and with it comes issues of absenteeism, tardiness, pay, and FLSA compliance.

  1. How will you consider absences during bad weather?
  2. Should you forgive tardiness in these circumstances?
  3. How will you handle pay for both exempt and non-exempt employees for missed work time due to weather?
  4. What do you need to know to stay compliant with FLSA?

Here are guidelines for your most pressing HR problems resulting from inclement weather, supported by research from our 2015 ERC Inclement & Adverse Weather Practices Survey.

1. Absenteeism

Over half of organizations consider absences excused for both non-exempt and exempt employees, if those absences are due to weather conditions. In addition, just over one-third of organizations determine whether these absences should be considered excused or unexcused on a case-by-case basis.

Work-from-home and telecommuting options can be a tactic used to prevent absenteeism. Many organizations (76%), however, permit exempt employees to work at home with their supervisor's discretion during inclement weather.

Only about one-third of organizations that allow work from home note specific conditions that must be met, but among those that do have requirements in place they include: having the necessary resources, nature of their job, supervisor approval, and a report of work completed from home for their supervisor at the end of the day.

In most cases, absences due to severe or unsafe weather should be considered excused and employees should not be penalized, but as an employer, you can reserve the right to evaluate each situation and determine whether absences should be considered as such.

2. Tardiness

Similarly, the widespread majority (91%) of organizations forgive tardiness due to inclement weather and do not impose penalties such as points, write-ups, or other discipline congruent with their attendance policies.

Among the few employers that do not forgive tardiness, the time limit within which tardiness is forgiven varied depending on the circumstances and is typically reviewed on a case by case basis.

3. Pay for Time Not Worked

Inclement weather poses compensation issues where employees may voluntarily or involuntarily leave work early, miss an entire day of work, and are late to work. In general, pay varies in these situations, but below are some general trends in inclement weather pay practices, with the top two most common pay practices listed for each scenario.

 

Non-Exempt

Exempt

Voluntarily

Leave work early

Usually only paid for hours worked (61%) or must use PTO/make up time (21%)

Usually paid for full day of work (34%) or must use PTO/make up time (23%)

Are late to work or tardy

Usually only paid for hours worked (58%) or must use PTO/make up time (20%)

Usually paid for full day of work (35%) or must use PTO/make up time (21%)

Miss an entire day of work

Usually only paid for hours worked (48%) or paid for full day of work via PTO (34%)

Usually paid for full day of work via PTO (30%) or must use PTO/make up time (27%)

Involuntarily

Leave work early

Usually paid for full day of work (41%) or only paid for hours worked (36%)

Usually paid for full day of work (64%) or must make up time (7%)

Are late to work or tardy

Usually paid for full day of work (39%) or only paid for hours worked (37%)

Usually paid for full day of work (63%) or must make up time (7%)

Miss an entire day of work

Usually paid for full day of work (41%) or only paid for hours worked (33%)

Usually paid for full day of work (59%) or must use PTO/make up time (13%)

Source: 2015 ERC Inclement & Adverse Weather Practices Survey

In general, exempt employees are more likely to be paid for a full day of work without having to use PTO or make up for missed time. Meanwhile, non-exempt employees are usually only paid for hours worked. However, it is important to note that when the missed time is involuntary, the two groups do tend to be paid more similarly than when the missed time is voluntary on the part of the individual employee.

4. FLSA Compliance

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides guidance on when making deductions to exempt employees' pay for absences due to inclement weather are allowed. Below are a few guidelines and additionally, this infographic provides a great overview of handling pay and also FMLA (Source: BLR).

  • Involuntary absences: FLSA prohibits deducting an exempt employee's pay because the organization was closed due to inclement weather.
  • Partial absences: Exempt employees must receive a full day's pay for any partial day worked. For example, if an exempt employee is late to work due to weather conditions, employers cannot deduct their pay by the time they missed.
  • Full-day absences: If an exempt employee does not report to work because of weather for an entire day, they can be docked pay. Most employers, however, usually pay them for this time or require them to use PTO to cover their time.
  • PTO: FLSA does not prohibit you from requiring exempt or non-exempt employees to use accrued PTO time to cover their pay for missed work. If employees, however, do not have any paid time off remaining, they still must be paid their regular salary if the organization is closed.

For non-exempt employees, your organization can determine whether to pay non-exempt employees for time missed due to inclement weather, but must pay them for any hours worked. If an employee does not report for work, however, you are not required to pay them.

Inclement and adverse weather is an issue that all employers face, but these practices will help your organization in dealing with absenteeism, tardiness, pay for time not worked, and FLSA compliance.

View ERC's Inclement Weather Practices Survey Results

This survey reports trends among Northeast Ohio employers in terms of how they handle communication, employee absence and tardiness, and pay during inclement weather.

View the Results