Top FLSA Lawyer Answer: Does my employer owe me salary on snow days? If my job tells to stay home for bad weather, do I still get paid? How Do I Find A Top Wage Lawyer? If I cannot get out of my driveway because of snow, do I lose my pay?
We all know the scenario: you’re watching the weather and hear that a winter storm is going to dump 6-10 inches of snow before 5 a.m. Suddenly, the ticker at the bottom of the screen begins listing school and business closings. If you have children it’s likely your child’s school has closed and either you had to call off work or you’re lucky and a relative, friend, or spouse can watch the little one. Getting to work on these days is a job in and of itself, so what happens when your employer decides to close business for the full day or even after half a day? Does your employer owe you your salary for the rest of the day even if you go home? What if your employer allows you to go home early but stays open for the rest of the day?
The first issue is whether you are a non-exempt or exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The Department of Labor (“DOL”) defines a non-exempt employee as one who is subject to the FLSA and entitled to minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor protections. However, under FLSA §13(a)(1) certain employees are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the FLSA. The determination is important here because the DOL has stated that the FLSA “does not require employers who are unable to provide work to employees due to a natural disaster [e.g., a snow storm] to pay non-exempt employees for hours the employees would have otherwise worked.” DOL Fact Sheet 72, May 2010
Please note to be an exempt employee under §13(a)(1) one must be paid on a salary basis of no less than $455 per week and perform work that is:
- directly related to management, or
- directly related to the employer’s general business operations or clients, or
- in an employment area that requires specialized academic training for entry into a professional field, or
- in the computer field, or
- considered outside sales (i.e., making sales away from the employer’s place of business), or
- in field of artistic or creative endeavor that is generally recognized.
The DOL has determined that if you are an exempt employee under FLSA §13(a)(1), your employer is open, and you decide to not go to work because of inclement weather, then your employer does not have to pay you for that day because the absence is considered as being for personal reasons. DOL Opinion Letter FLSA2005-46.
What if you’re exempt (under §13(a)(1)) and you have braved the weather and slippery roads to make it into work; must your employer pay you for a full day if you leave early? According to the DOL an employer that remains open during weather emergencies can only deduct salary from an exempt employee for a full day absence because of adverse weather emergencies. Id. So, if you made it to work and worked a partial day, your employer owes you your salary for the entire workday.
Also, if your employer is closed for less than a full workweek because of some weather-related emergency or other disaster then your employer has to pay you your full salary “for any week in which [you perform] any work without regard to the number of days or hours worked” because an employer can’t make deductions for time when there’s no work available. Id. However, please note that an employer does not have to pay a §13(a)(1) exempt employee any salary for any workweek when they perform no work at all. Id. In other words, an employer can’t punish an exempt employee because it has decided to close because of a weather-related emergency or disaster, unless it is closed for a full workweek and the employee has performed absolutely no work for the employer during that workweek.
If you are an exempt employee under the FLSA’s §13(a)(1) then your employer must ensure that you are paid your rightful salary in accordance with the law. Snowstorms and other natural disasters happen. But, there is no reason your employer should treat such events as a way to save money at your expense.
If you believe that your employer is not paying you all of your wages, paying you less than minimum wage, unlawfully deducting money from your paycheck, not paying you time and a half for overtime, or is otherwise cheating you out of wages requires contact the minimum wage violation lawyers and overtime claim attorneys at The Spitz Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation. You may have a claim under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act or Ohio Fair Labor Standards Act. The wage and hour lawyers at The Spitz Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your wage and hour pay dispute situation. If you even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being paid, call 866-797-6040.
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