Ask an HR Expert: Inclement weather days

Hello and thank you for joining me for another episode of Ask an HR Expert. My name is Katie Stewart and I am with Tandem HR.

Today’s question is: If I close my office or employees cannot make it into work due to inclement weather, do I have to pay them?

This is a great question that we get asked about every year! There are two different scenarios you need to consider. The first is for exempt employees, those typically salaried and exempt from overtime pay according to the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the second is for non-exempt employees, typically paid by the hour and eligible for overtime pay.

For your exempt employees, you could have two scenarios.

One is when the office is open and one is when the office is closed. If you choose to close the office due to inclement weather and that is why your employees do not report to work, then you do have to pay them unless you require them or give them the option to use other paid time off (PTO).  In order to dock pay for exempt employees, it has to be their own choice to miss work. They can only be docked in full-day increments.

So, again, in the scenario where the organization chooses to close the office, an exempt employee would receive full pay unless you require them to use PTO. You cannot force them to take an unpaid day off.

Now, if your office or location remains open and an employee cannot get to work for any reason, then you can dock their pay. Remember, it must be docked in full-day increments. If they are able to perform any work that day, they must be paid for the full day of work. Again, at this point, you can allow them to substitute any unpaid time off with any PTO allowed per your policies.

For non-exempt employees, it is a bit simpler.

If they do not perform work, then they do not need to be paid. Whether you close the office or they are unable to make it in, you are not obligated to pay them if they do not perform the work. Again, you can provide the option of using PTO if you wish.

I hope this helped clear things up for you regarding employer obligations to pay employees during inclement weather days.


If you have any other questions, please reach out to Tandem HR at  630.928.0510 or fill out the form below.

Thank you for joining me for Ask an HR Expert.