Inclement weather can raise unique wage and hour issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act. While employee safety always should be a paramount consideration in the event of inclement weather, employers also must remain mindful of wage and hour implications.
With respect to exempt employees, for example, employers may not dock their pay if they are sent home on account of inclement weather after working a partial day. The employer must pay them for the entire day. If an exempt employee misses a full day of work when the workplace is open, however, the employee's salary may be deducted for the missed time. In the event the workplace is closed for less than a week, generally the exempt employees must be paid for those days although an employer may require an exempt employee to use paid time off to the extent it is permissible under state law. An employer does not need to pay an exempt employee if the workplace is closed for an entire week and the employee performs no work during that week.
Non-exempt employees generally only must be paid for the hours they actually work. Accordingly, an employer ordinarily does not need to pay non-exempt employees for hours not worked if they were scheduled to work but sent home early for inclement weather. Some states, however, have "reporting time pay" laws that may require an employer to pay a non-exempt employee a specified amount for showing up to work even if the employee is sent some because of inclement weather.