do you have to be paid if your office is closed due to weather?

by Ask a Manager on October 29, 2012

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With pretty much everyone on the east coast expecting to lose power due to the storm, a few people have asked me whether their employers have to pay them for days that their office is closed because of the weather or lack of power.

Here’s the answer:

If you’re a non-exempt employee (eligible for overtime): If your office closes because of the storm and thus you don’t work on those days, your employer is not required to pay you for those days. Some employers still will, but the law doesn’t require it; it just depends on what your employer’s policy is.

If you’re an exempt employee (salaried and not eligible for overtime): If you work any portion of the week, you have to be paid your full salary for the week … even if your office closes because of the storm. They can, however, require you to use a vacation day for that day. (But if you’re all out of vacation days, they can’t dock your pay to cover it.) Smart employers will not make you use vacation time for these days, but they’re not all smart.

What if your office is open but you can’t get to work because of the weather? If you’re non-exempt, nothing changes. If you’re exempt, however, it’s a little different:  In this case, you’re not considered “ready, willing, and able to work” — even though that’s not within your control — and so your employer can dock your pay if you miss a full day. If you only miss the part of the day, they can’t dock any pay; that’s part of being exempt. But most employers will let you use vacation time for these days, and some won’t charge your accrued leave time at all.

So the answer, as it so often does, comes down to whether you’re exempt or non-exempt. Employers should, however, think about the morale problem they’re almost certainly causing if they pay exempt workers but not non-exempt ones, as well as a host of other morale issues associated with all of this.

{ 148 comments… read them below or add one }

SCW October 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I don’t think of it just as a morale issue–if you tell folks that you will not be paying them or that you will be docking their pay, they are more likely to try to get into work. They may try to get into work even if it isn’t safe. As a boss I would not want my staff to feel the need to put themeselves in danger to get to work because they needed that one day of pay. Of course if it were longer term that is another issue.


Ask a Manager October 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Right, but I’m talking about if you close the office. If the office is closed and people can’t come to work, and you pay one class of people but not another, that’s not a great move.


Steven January 15, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I agree. My employer told me to not come in due to what the weather, forecast called for high winds and blowing snow. I have never missed work due to the weather. I have always made it in and on time. Next pay period I find out I am supposed to use vacation, which I have designated for other days off, or take it unpaid. I would have been more than willing to come in and find work to do than just sit home watching it snow.
Here is the kicker, my co-workers are salary. I just transfer to this department and it was official 1-1-13, but on 12-20-12, we had a big snow storm, at least the forecasted one. I also work for a Christian non-profit. Morales mean nothing apparently.


Mike C. October 29, 2012 at 3:48 pm

This may seem like a dumb question, but what determines if an office is “open” for the day? Say the boss says it’s open via email but no one with keys shows up, or there’s no electricity/hot water/the way is physically or legally blocked. Is it still “open”?

This is just out of curiosity.


Ask a Manager October 29, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Interesting. Generally it means that no one has announced it’ll be closed and that there are no policies that would indicate it is (for instance, offices where it’s policy to close if the local government closes). But if someone showed up and the door was locked and they didn’t have keys, or something along those lines, I think most state laws say that non-exempt employees have to be paid at least a few hours. There’s a term for this that I’m forgetting.


Not So NewReader October 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Call in pay? They have to pay you four hours even if you do not work. I have never seen an employer do this, though.


Ask a Manager October 29, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Yes, that’s the term! Some states legally require it (California is one, I think).


Cody C October 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm

This happened to us in the three days of no flights after 9/11
Show up clock in hang out for four hours and then go home
I remember crying when the first plane left our airport after flying was resumed.


inPhilly November 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I’m dealing with this on my time sheet for this week right now. I’m supposed to use my accrued vacation time. Thanks for your info!

I showed up both Monday and Tuesday to find our office was closed, and I hadn’t been notified. We were offered 4 hours of “exempt” time today after much grumbling, and I guess that is call in pay? Do I get to use that for 4 hours each day or 4 hours per weather event? Thanks!


Ask a Manager November 1, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Check with them — they should clarify!


Jamie October 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm

That’s common, I’ve seen it. If called in but there is no work employees or temps are sent home. If immediately then 4 hours if worked past 4 hours and sent home paid the rest of he 8.

Check company handbook for direct employees and almost all temp agencies will have a similar deal with their people.


Alex October 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm

That happened to me. I was an assistant manager in retail at the time, and someone had tried to rob the place. They broke the gate at the front that was the only way in. We had to pay the people that would have been able to work if only we had been able to enter the store. I didn’t have enough time to call and advise them to not come in.


Jamie October 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm

For the smaller offices with which I’m familiar it’s “open” if someone with a key is committed to staying there for an amount of time and people are told they can work between certain times.

If you have a key you can technically open the office while you’re there, but if you don’t know if it will be 15 min or 4 hours you generally don’t “open” the office because then you’re stuck there as the only one to lock up.

Of course, if someone without a key needs to get in off hours then it’s arranged in advance with the key people.


fposte October 29, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Interestingly, our university last January (in the midst of Midwestern snowstorm season) sent out a campus-wide notice saying that the university never officially closes–that even if the media calls it closed, that’s not the university’s official stance. (Paired with a “use your discretion” policy.)


LJL October 31, 2012 at 10:24 am

Interesting. It would seem that would countermand states of emergency in which officials (I’ve seen mayors and governors both do it) tell people to stay off the roads and, indeed, arrest/ticket/fine people who venture out. Can an employer tell an employee to not follow a directive from an official? Just curious here as this almost happened to my sister-in-law who was told to report to work during a major snowstorm when both the mayor and governor were telling everyone to say off the streets (both walking and driving).

At our college, I’ve noticed that the school tends to be closed for official states of emergency declared by the governor, but nothing else.


sara October 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Does non-exempt mean “hourly”? as in you get paid hourly but not on a salary?

I’m on salary but at my job I don’t get salary, I get only regular pay


Ask a Manager October 29, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Nope, it means whether or not the government classification for your job makes you eligible for overtime. This is determined by government standards; it’s not up to your employer. You can read more here:

Often non-exempt people are paid hourly, but not always.

I need to do a separate post on this since it comes up all the time!


sara October 29, 2012 at 4:03 pm

please do!


Mike October 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm

As a salaried non-exempt I have seen this issue come up plenty. Would be good for people to get clarification on it.


Thomas October 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Yes, please do. I saw mention of being “salaried non-exempt” over at Evil HR Lady a while back, and my mind was blown.


The IT Manager October 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm

My mind was blown recently when I found out that in my job I was salaried and exempt. At first I thought my boss was just wrong, but he’s wasn’t.

Actually as a formerly exempt employee, I find it frustrating and would prefer the flexibility of being exempt. I do get approved for occasional OT, but it needs to be approved in advance and then I earn comp time which after a certain amount of time (6 months) does convert to money if I don’t use it. So essentially it’s the same thing as when I was exempt but now there’s paperwork. and I do not feel able to just leave early when I am too tired or frustrated to get anything done because I would to have had to put in my request to use comp time in advance. It’s turned me into a clock watcher who leaves right at quitting time and I didn’t used to be that way.


Eric October 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I assume that in the first paragraph you meant to say non-exempt. IF that is the case then the comp time arrangement is illegal. Any comp time would have to be taken during the same week in which you worked (total work that week being under 40 hours) otherwise they have to pay you 1/2 your average hourly salary for that week as overtime per hour over 40 worked.


The IT Manager October 29, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Correct non-exempt and salaried. (I totally mis-typed).

I work for a large federal government entity and this process is well documented so I’m fully confident there’s no way this is illegal. Whether it’s because of some sort of exemption from the law for federal employees or there’s some loop-hole I don’t understand, I don’t know.


Ask a Manager October 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Conveniently, the federal govt exempts themselves from a lot of labor laws — probably including this one.


Joey October 29, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Absolutely it’s legal for govt, most local and states govt’s do it too. It’s an exemption thats meant to benefit taxpayers by reducing expenses. This is one reason why people mistakenly think govt has such wildly great benefits- they don’t understand you frequently forfeit pay for those benefits.

But there is one benefit- its typically it’s paid out at your current pay rate, not the pay rate at which it was earned.


Ask a Manager October 29, 2012 at 4:27 pm

You could be non-exempt but paid a salary, meaning that your paycheck is the same every week as long as you don’t go over 40 hours. If you worked more than 40 hours within a week, you’d need to have overtime added to the check for that week.


Mike October 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Don’t forget that some states (like California) also say that anything over 8 hours in a day is also overtime (excluding alternate work schedules).

When talking about salary non-exempt I like to avoid talking about weekly paychecks and use a generic pay period. My pay per pay period (excluding any overtime) is the same regardless of the number of hours actually worked during that period. So my January (I get paid monthly) paycheck was the same as February which was the same as May even though each had a different number of work days (22, 21, 23 respectfully).

If in a given day or week I earn overtime then it is added to my pay period’s check.


AnotherAlison October 29, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I’m trying not to get to aggravated thinking about the morale of the exempt employees. I’d gladly take all the exempt employee’s OT pay in exchange for pay for the one day ever that my office has been closed. I realize the law and government standards are why they get OT pay & I don’t, but it’s also the law that requires me to get paid when the office is closed and not them. Why should anyone complain about it or let it become a morale issue when there are benefits unique to both being exempt and non-exempt?


AnotherAlison October 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I wrote that backwards. . .I meant non-exempt where I said exempt.

Multitasking. . .harumph


Ask a Manager October 29, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Lots of non-exempt employees don’t get paid overtime because they’re not permitted to work over 40 hours/week, so they never earn it. So if you have that situation with all your non-exempt people and then you close the office for a storm and pay your exempt people for the day but not your non-exempt, of course it will cause morale issues.


some1 October 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Many years ago, I worked retail in a shopping mall. I showed up to work to open the store by myself one morning, only to be found that no one was allowed in the mall due to a safety issue. The mall eventually opened in the late afternoon. My supervisor was originally not going to authorize my pay for that shift, but Corporate over-ruled him because I was there and ready to work, but wasn’t allowed to because of circumstances beyond my control.


Kimberlee, Esq. October 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Also, if you perform work – even if it’s not authorized – you must be paid for it. Sure, working when the boss tells you not to will maybe get you fired, but you still have to be paid if you performed work!


-X- October 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Wow, how obnoxious on your supervisor’s part. And great way to try to wreck any staff loyalty or morale over a relatively small amount of money.


some1 October 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm

The most obnoxious thing is that he clearly didn’t even check with Corporate, or even tell me. He just just blacked out my name on the schedule that day.


Elizabeth West October 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm

My ex-company paid us the day we were closed for the 2007 ice storm that shut down the whole city. But for a blizzard last year, we had to take a vacation day (different managers).

At a different job (my favorite job, which alas is no more), they called us the day we got 18 inches of snow and said “Don’t even try to come in.” That’s the kind of boss I like to have. :) No pay for that day, but I was part time with a crappy car and was very happy I didn’t have to risk my life.


some1 October 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I live somewhere it snows a lot. Since I started working in offices, there have been a handful of blizzards that have caused the company I was working for to close the office early and I was always paid for a full day.


Amber October 29, 2012 at 4:43 pm

“If you work any portion of the week, you have to be paid your full salary for the week.” Is this why long holiday vacations still have 1 work day? For example during Christmas we’re given 4 days off but still have to come in for 1 day that week. Is that to ensure that we (salaried) still get paid for the week?


Ask a Manager October 29, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Hmmm, I’m not sure. It could be!


Eric October 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Unlikely. The company could always choose to pay you even if you don’t work at all that week.


Bridgette October 29, 2012 at 4:51 pm

That is an interesting question and I’m curious about the answer myself. I work at a university and we pretty much shut down the last week of the year, and many offices have no one working at all during the entire week. But we (salaried) still got paid, even though it was an entire week with no work.


Ask a Manager October 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Keep in mind that employers often provide benefits that the law doesn’t require them to provide. (Paid vacation, for instance — no law requires that.)


Eric October 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm

What about people that are stuck at work and not able to leave? Do they have to be paid for those extra hours they are there?


Ask a Manager October 29, 2012 at 5:12 pm

My guess is no, unless they perform work while they’re waiting it out. But I’m just guessing.


Chinook October 29, 2012 at 11:10 pm

But what about if the employer refused to let them leave earlier, when it was safe. But for that decision, the employee would be home.


Ask a Manager October 29, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Yeah, I understand the thinking — just can’t think of any law that would apply.


KellyK October 30, 2012 at 8:06 am

So, if you’re stuck at work, do something useful so you have to be paid. :)


Chinook October 30, 2012 at 11:42 am

I do believe they used their time to get better acquainted with various bed and bath products and items beyond that.


Grace October 30, 2012 at 10:34 am

This happened to my sister last night. They were required to be at their shift (NYC restaurant) and everyone got stuck there overnight.


Meg October 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm

An extra wrinkle: I had vacation days submitted and approved for today through Wednesday, but our office is definitely closed today and tomorrow at least. I’m an exempt, salaried employee, and the policy on severe weather is clear: stay home when the government tells you to. We’re expecting power outages so it’s unlikely any people in our office will even be able to work from home. Would it look bad if I asked to have my vacation days transferred to another time later this year? Or should I just keep my mouth shut?


Ask a Manager October 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm

No, that’s fine to do, assuming you’re staying home and not still going on vacation (and that you make that clear).


AdAgencyChick October 30, 2012 at 12:10 am

I’m in the same boat — I had put in for this whole week off as I’m running the NYC Marathon on Sunday and wanted to rest up. I’m hoping I can get two vacation days back (my office has already announced it’s closed tomorrow) without too much red tape.


Joey October 30, 2012 at 6:45 am

You might be SOL


Anonymous October 29, 2012 at 11:14 pm

I’d like to ask that our regular AAM posters let us know they are OK. I apologize if this is not appropriate for this forum, but I think we all get to feel a “friendship” with the regulars.


Ask a Manager October 29, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Not inappropriate at all!


KellyK October 30, 2012 at 8:07 am

I like this idea, and I’m fine. Only lost power in brief flickers, but working from home today because roads are a bit of a mess.


Laura L October 30, 2012 at 9:19 am

I’m doing well. I’m in DC and didn’t even lose power!


The Snarky B October 30, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I like this idea! (Do I count as a regular?) I’m in Manhattan, but on high ground & doing fine. Power was flickering most of yesterday but all is well. And in general, there have been very few fatalities considering how many sub-disasters there have been. (Massive fires, building facades collapsing, cranes collapsing, flooding and waves, etc.)


Chocolate Teapot October 30, 2012 at 2:00 am

My company’s East Coast offices are all closed at the moment and people requested to work from home.

I hope everyone is ok and the storm hasn’t caused you too much disruption.


lindsay October 30, 2012 at 8:37 am

I work at a public museum, and our policy is if the museum is delayed in opening, doesn’t open or closes early, staff (including salaried back office and non-salaried floor staff) are paid for the hours they were scheduled to work. If you request to leave early due to weather, you’re only paid for the hours you worked. Within individual departments in the back office, we have flexibility in working from home if the weather is bad. Although considering we’re often a destination for people on snow days, the museum very rarely closes due to weather. We’re more likely to do a delayed opening and get that visitor business from people off of school and work.


LJL October 31, 2012 at 11:05 am

I was out of power for about 18 hours but otherwise am fine. Glad to see the others are too!


Anonymouse October 31, 2012 at 9:38 pm

It’s amazing how much latitude an individual manager has in this. We have no official telecommuting policy… but I use a DADT policy with my employees – work from home if you can, otherwise make-up the hours in the pay period so you can save your leave and take home your dinero. If anyone has a beef with it (and no one ever has because we continue to deliver our work), then I have to defend the decision and my team doesn’t have to deal with it.


AmyNYC November 1, 2012 at 8:51 am

I am an exempt worker (I think… I get paid the same amount each Pay period regardless of overtime)
My office is in Lower Manhattan and has no power; we’ve been closed all week so far, I’m waiting to get confirmation on today.
You mentioned that exempt employees are paid if they work all or part of the week; what if we close the whole week?


Ask a Manager November 1, 2012 at 11:57 am

The FLSA requires that exempt employees be paid for absences of less than a full week if an office is shut down. If it’s a week or more, I don’t think they’re legally required to … but in practice, many/most businesses still will, unless it goes on for a long time.


Jamie November 1, 2012 at 10:26 am

I’m glad you guys are all okay – it was so scary just watching it on the weather channel, I can’t imagine being in the middle of that.

I confess every once in a while I like being snowed in – the perfect days where there is enough advanced notice and no one gets hurt…just a perfect excuse to hole up in the house with the family and hot cocoa, fleece, and logging a lot of time on the couch.

But those east coast storms are a whole different animal – they seem so much scarier than our Midwestern blizzards.


KayC November 1, 2012 at 10:28 am

I completely agree with the morale issue between non exempt and exempt employees. The day after the storm a mass text went to all employees due to our email server being down (and currently still is). Only a few are non exempt everyone else is exempt & with the storm Tuesday I was told by my direct boss not to report in, now to find out that I don’t get paid for the day even though I was willing and able to report but the office was without power/communication.
With a smirk he replied “that’s the downside of being hourly”. Meanwhile every other company I’ve worked for has paid the day regardless because of it being a company/corporate decision.

Also, is it illegal for your employer to pay hourly employees straight time when they are over 40hours a week?


Jamie November 1, 2012 at 10:38 am

“Also, is it illegal for your employer to pay hourly employees straight time when they are over 40hours a week?”

The criteria isn’t hourly – it’s whether the employee is exempt or not.

In many (most) places hourly people are the non-exempt positions and salaried are exempt – so a lot of people conflate the two, but they are seperate categories. The law doesn’t care if my employer pays me hourly or salary, as long as they follow the rules for my exempt/non-exempt status.

The cliff note version of the law is non-exempt people must be paid for ALL the time they’ve worked and paid at an OT rate for all time past 40 hours in the weekly pay period.

Exempt people are not owed OT for time over 40 in a pay period, however they must be paid for a full week if they worked any part of that week. If I’m off Monday-Tuesday and work the rest they can’t pay me for three days – I get paid the same unless I’m out the entire weekly pay period.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be written up and even fired for absences – it just means that while an exempt employee is currently employed they must be paid their regularly weekly salary if they worked any part of the weekly pay period.


barryrubin November 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Does a company have to pay you your full hours in Massachusetts if they send you home early 2 hours prior of completing your shift?


barryrubin November 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Also forgot to mention I was sent home cause of the hurricane


SunnyCA November 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm

On the morning of 9/11, my law school dean sent out an email announcement that the school would remain open and students were required to attend classes, as usual. By noon (when it was clear that the professors were not going to show up to teach) she had to send out a second email announcing that classes were cancelled for the rest of the day. Sometimes, thinking things through up-front from a practical standpoint is just essential. As a follow up, that dean became dearly hated by the student body and was soon ousted from the school.


therlo November 2, 2012 at 2:39 am

Our company closed for 3 days this week. Everyone got paid for 3 “extra” days off without having to use PTO – that is everyone except the hourly wage employees (for whom OT is a no-no tho eligible for it) who were on vacation. If you’re on vacation and the firm closes dues to inclement weather or building shutdown….screw you. I was one of those lucky folks who spent this week on a planned vacation at home without power/heat, etc. for 3 days, and used my PTO days to do it. So for all of us grunts who get 20 days PTO (vacation, personal, sick) and had the good luck to be on vacation this week—the other people in the same category as you will have 23 paid days off this year. It isn’t fair. It is like insult to injury. Come Monday, I will not be allowed to call out sick–I have to earn that time off. Everyone else who got off 3 days for the storm, whether they were truly inconvenienced or not, don’t have that 3 day deficit on their PTO time. So, is that a fair policy? I realize that as an at will employe I have practically no rights whatsoever.


The IT Manager November 2, 2012 at 9:17 am

Well, it sounds fair to me. You put in for vacation; you could have been somewhere far away from the hurricane’s enjoying yourself on an actual vacation – your company does not know your plans or judge your use of vacation days. The fact that the weather ruined your vacation is irrelevant to your company.

You never planned to come in this last week so if the firm hadn’t been closed those three days you would have stayed home while your co-workers would have come in. They’re being paid (given extra PTO) because they would have been working if the company had been open. So that’s why it’s fair. It seems like for at least one maybe all three days, they got up and planned to head into the office before they got word to stay home.

It’s not fair, though, to those non-exempt workers you mention. They planned to work, would have worked if possible and were counting on being paid for those hours next paycheck. And given that non-exempt employees are often hourly and paid less, which may hurt their finances a lot.

Over the course of the year, you got as many PTO days as promised by your company. You’re just making yourself feel worse by comparing yourself to you coworkers who got a few unexpected extra days in which they sat at home probably with no power cleaning debris from there yards. It’s not like they had a lot of fun on their unscheduled paid time off.


The IT Manager November 2, 2012 at 9:18 am

And that actually a response to therlo’s comment right above mine.


therlo November 2, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Everybody got paid. Everybody. Those who were out on PTO used their own days. Those who did not plan to be out, and the firm closed, got EXTRA THREE DAYS off, and did not have to use from their bank of PTO. Unfair.


therlo November 2, 2012 at 9:31 pm

And, I was home, without power or heat for 3 days. The upside is, our basement didn’t flood thank God because if it did, we had no power to run the hand held pool pump! I stick to my guns…it wasn’t fair. It sucks, and I hate the policy. I should have canceled my PTO on Friday and said I’d be in this week due to the inclement weather. I guess policy is policy and law is law, but someone always has to get screwed and this time is was me. Yup, I’m a spoilsport sourpusss.


Jim November 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Our company docked us vacation, personal or sick days for the 3 days the office was closed from power outages.


prism November 9, 2012 at 7:21 am

Hello all. Im so aggravated over the past two weeks. Ive been with my employer for 6 yrs and has always gotten paid for snow days and any other days the office is closed. However, the day before it snowed here in Ct and a week after Hurricane Sandy 4 of us non exempt employees were told we will not be getting paid for these days. Funny thing is my supervisor, the person who delivered this news 10 min before we were to begin our day; said she had already submitted the time (4 days for the storm sandy) and then asked if we wanted to get paid or work four days for free at the end of the school year! I work for a prek program. The kicker is other staff who are also non exempt and to my knowledge not salaried as they are paid over time… will get paid for snow days and other unexpected closures. Our company is fairly small less than 40 people. How about that for a moral issue! These other staff memberd also have accrued vacation time while the four of us affected dont. Sorry if i rambled but this is frustrating because this isnt the first time our small group of teachers have been targeted to supplement budget cuts! storm sandy)


anon. November 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Does anyone know if the rules apply to employers with less than (lets say 5) employees? My office had no power for a week. There is my boss, his brother and me. He did not mention this at all when we came back to work.
Thanks so much!


The IT Manager November 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Did you ask him if you would be paid for the week you were unable to work yet?


anon. November 11, 2012 at 7:54 am

No, not yet. The owner is not easy to approach and there are a variety of other issues (btween the brothers/brothers resentment that I was hired/lack of leadership and direction..) So, just wanting to get my information straight for when he says no- which I think he will.


Ask a Manager November 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm

The rules in the post would apply to any size employer in the U.S.


prism November 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Is legal for a company to pay some nonexempt employees and not others?


Ask a Manager November 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm

They need to pay all of them for all hours worked.


prism November 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I should have stated this more clearly. My company (preschool) informed 4 of us nonexempt employees that we would not be paid for four days missed because of storm Sandy. The school was closed nor did they collect tuition. However they said they are paying the other nonexempt staff because they work all year. The four of us work according to the public school district calendar. None of the staff in prek, ar school district employees. The school districts just oversees
the grant money. No one worked those for days. Is it legal for them to pay some nonexempt employees and not others?


Ask a Manager November 13, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Yes, that’s legal. You can treat different types of employees differently, as long as it’s not based on race, religion, etc.


prism November 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm

In the past 6 plus years, they have paid us. The day we were informed by our supervisor, she had already suubmitted the four days to payroll. She said someone at payroll questioned it. She then asked us if we wanted to be paid for the four days or work for four days at the end of the school year for free since we have to make up the days. Doing this informal meeting is also when she said we will no longer get paid for these types of circumstances. Did she give us enough advance notice? Should it had been written? And if we had accepted to be paid; can they force us to work without pay at the end of the school year. We didn’t give her answer because we felt pressured and unsure of our rights. We met with our director, who said she will research this but she never gave us answers to some of our question.

these typed of circumstances.


prism November 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm

*my kindle scrolling feature is acting wierd, sorry for the fragments at the end of my replies**


Ask a Manager November 13, 2012 at 8:10 pm

There’s no legal requirement that they give you notice, unless you had a written contract that they were changing. In the past they were paying you for days that weren’t required to pay you; now they’re simply not doing that.


prism November 13, 2012 at 8:25 pm

We have a contract. The problem is, these type of situations are not specified in the contract.


Ask a Manager November 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Then it just goes to what the law says, and what they’re doing would be legal.

Mary November 11, 2012 at 11:09 pm

After hurricane sandy I am informed that my boss wants us to make up 2 weeks of work after being closed due to storm. He did pay exempt full time employees. Is this legal to ask us to make up 2 weeks of work? It’s seems extreme. I have 4 vacation days left this year.


Ask a Manager November 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm

What exactly is he asking you to do?


RAK November 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm

My employer is requiring me to take a full 8 hour vacation day and we are only open for 4 hours for Christmas Eve, 8am to 12pm(normal hours are 8-5), is this legal?


Ask a Manager November 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I’m confused by the question. They’re requiring you to take a vacation day on Christmas Eve, but work four hours that day anyway?


Jamie November 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

I think I get it. I think what she’s saying is that the office is only open 4 hours on Christmas Eve, but they want to deduct an entire day (8 hours) from vacation accrual. Even though she wouldn’t even be working 8 hours if she came in.

I’m no lawyer, but if I’m right and this is the case it’s the sign of a sucky employer to be this nickle and dimey over vacation accruals.


Ask a Manager November 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Ah, I see. They can handle vacation time however they want, as long as you don’t have a contract that spells out something different. But yes, as Jamie says, this is crappy and you should point it out and push back.


Jamie November 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I have seen stuff like this before and it never fails to amaze me why some companies do stuff like this. The morale issues that are generated by screwing with people’s pay or vacation is enormous compared to the minuscule monetary savings they get from this.

Just because something is wrong doesn’t make it illegal…but employers should remember that just because something is legal doesn’t mean it it’s ethical or even smart.

I get very Norma Rae about people messing with accrued vacation – that and payroll are sacred things imo.


RAK November 13, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Yes, this is correct. I have to work 4 hours on christmas eve or take 8 hours vacation.


prism November 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Would that still be the case, even if the state dol law says they have to furnish us certain information regarding policy changes and procedures with regard to wages, vacation, sick time and other comparable matters?


Ask a Manager November 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm

What they did isn’t illegal so I don’t know why they’d need to give you special notice. But if you’re still unsure, contact a lawyer and see what they say.


prism November 13, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Im only trying to interpret the law for clear understanding. Thanks for your time.


Megan December 5, 2012 at 8:21 am

Is there a way to apply from the state a way to get paid for not being able to work due to electricity loss? I lost a whole week :(


Paul December 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I am a non exempt salary employee. My company was open yesterday and had employees working first shift. My boss called and told us not to come in because the roads was going to freeze over. I have 13 hours of overtime suppose to be on my check. My first question is will I get paid a regular 8 hour day even though I didn’t come into work because he told us not to because of the weather when the terminal was still open. And my second question is. If he doesn’t have to pay me for that day will I still get my 12 hours of overtime pay?


Ask a Manager December 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Whether you’re paid for the day depends on your company’s policy. (See the original post for more on this.) Whether you’re paid overtime depends on whether you worked more than 40 hours this week. If you didn’t, there’s no legal requirement to pay overtime.


Kim December 27, 2012 at 6:48 pm

My employer decided to close the office yesterday due to inclement weather. However, they failed to notify several employees that they closed for the day. In our handbook it states that, should the office close, employees will receive a phone call to notify us of the closing. Should my employer be obligated to paying us for coming in, since they failed to call us? If you need to know, my employer is in Indiana.


Grant January 2, 2013 at 10:25 pm


I believe those employees would be eligible for 4 hours pay.


Brandy January 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm

If you are salary and you have a doctors appt, can they dock your vacation time for the 2 hours missed?


Ask a Manager January 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm



Adam January 15, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I requested on Jan 9th to have a vacation day on Jan 11th due to an impending storm coming in. My vacation day was never coded in, it was merely a verbal agreement with my manager. On Jan 11th, the office was actually closed down due to the storm, so I didn’t have to use my vacation day and it was never coded in as such. Should I still be able to keep my vacation day? Or is the verbal agreement enough to lose my vacation day? I live in Newfoundland, Canada btw


Ask a Manager January 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Logically, yes, you should — but it depends on your employer’s policies/practices.


Abc January 23, 2013 at 3:56 pm

At work they want everybody’s picture updated. I have never had mine taken (have been here many yrs). Now they say they will enforce it because of corporate policy. I won’t let them take it. I feel it’s my personal privacy. Don’t I have a right not to have my photo taken?


Ask a Manager January 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm



Abc January 23, 2013 at 4:12 pm

It’s to be used in advertising and promotions. I am a person behind the scenes, not one of the media people. In the land of social media and all of the copyrights and protections, don’t I have anything to stand on? Or is your soul sold to the devil now-a-days when you work for someone?


Ask a Manager January 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Legally, they can require it. But you can certainly ask not to have your photo used in that manner.


Jamie January 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I don’t know if this varies from state to state – but we have our people sign a release to use their photos in any type of publication.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be fired if you refuse (not here – but in general) but they can’t use the picture unless there is a release on file.

I don’t know if this is in compliance to the law or if we just have a cautious person writing policy (me – I wrote it.)


Confused and Stressed January 27, 2013 at 6:07 pm

What do you think of an employer that tells you if you leave work because the weather is bad (ice and snow) and the roads are bad to travel on with multiple car wrecks already happening – they tell you it will be charged against your attendance ? Therby – forcing on to make a decision regarding their job over their saftey and well being .


Missy January 28, 2013 at 1:32 pm

I paid my employees for inclement weather on a day it deleted and snowed a little.

The next morning the ice was melted but I gave then a 2 hr delay but gave myself a one hour delay. The roads were fine but still I will honor the 2 hr delay and they will get paid for those missed hours. Well, the news started talking abt the potential of black ice later in the evening. I have an 8 month Prevo girl so I told her to leave an hour early. But then my other employee says “I don’t feel comfortable driving with black I’ve possibly being out there.” I said well the store is packed and people said that the roads are clear so no, you’ll be fine. Well, I don’t feel comfortable so I will go ahead and leave at 7. I wanted to tell her no but I was told that employers can’t make employees stay at a workplace. But I thought that was only if they are working past their scheduled hours. I’m paying them for 2 in worked hours as is; but “the fear of of black ice” although the roads were clear. The situation cause me to stay an extra hour so I wouldn’t get any customer service complaints. I ended up leaving an hour and a half over my schedule (which was fine but itritating) bc my closer wanted to leave early. When I was driving home; the roads were perfectly fine…


greg January 30, 2013 at 12:20 pm

hi, my boss has said to me that i am not getting paid for our holiday as i havent worked. he closed the workshop up for christmas for 2 weeks am i entitled to holiday pay????


Ask a Manager January 30, 2013 at 5:33 pm



emma February 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm

can i ask my boss a question on why they have given me a certain job to do


Smarshall February 7, 2013 at 11:29 pm


I went to work this morning and was told to go home because i accidentally missed a mandatory meeting yesterday and was put on unpaid leave for 3 days as well. I get paid by the hour so am i legally supposed to be paid for 4 hours today just for showing up and clocking in for a half hour if i live in MA? Also, can my boss put me on leave for 3 days just for missing a meeting? Thanks.


Scott February 8, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I live in MA. Came into work today at 12:00 p.m. I’m scheduled to work until 8:30 p.m. I was told the building will be closing at 3 p.m. due to the weather. Also if you are on the roads after 4 p.m. you would be fined and possibly serve a year in prison. Due to a blizzard. Is my work place required to pay me for at least half of the day which would mean they owe me an hour of pay. Or I am I SoL???


Lori February 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm

If there is a travel ban due to the 3ft of snow we received, in the city where my employer is located, can they make me report to work? There is a risk of a ticket, getting stuck, and possibly towing…
And can they make me take vacation days if I don’t go in? They shouldn’t be open at all with the travel ban, how is anyone going to get to work?


Ann February 12, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Historically, my employer paid us if we were scheduled to work and the weather closed our institution. Without warning, they have decided to stop paying part time employees. Can they do this? Or did they set a precedent?


Ask a Manager February 12, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Yes, they can do that, if those employees are non-exempt.


josh April 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Hi, I have a question. I work in Newton which is right next to the town where the boston bombing suspect was being persued. The state shut down the city so I was unable to go into to work. Now the overtime that I have worked hard for is only come to me as straight pay. Can this do this? Does this apply with the winter weather problems?


Ask a Manager April 23, 2013 at 4:41 pm

They’re required to pay you overtime on anything over 40 hours worked in a week. If you didn’t actually work 40 hours, though, then you wouldn’t be required to get overtime.


Jason March 6, 2013 at 7:55 am

Look, folks, the moral of the story is, businesses in America can get away with just about everything because of purposefully wide open lack of policy to allow flexibility. This allows for valid business cases exceptions to exist to what would otherwise be made illegal due to “fairness” concerns.

What will drive company policy to be more fair to the workers? The workers. You don’t have to unionize to make a point. You can specifically go looking for another job and in your exit interview state specifically that this was one of the reasons why you left. If a group leaves all saying the same thing, policy will change. Even in this economic climate, there are still jobs out there that actually pay their employees fairly and care about safety. You can actually hurt, or even take a business out, if they can’t or, more likely, don’t want to compete with other employers in your industry to keep you employed with them.

This is the true power of the people. Remember this, and don’t be so afraid of a job change when an employer is crap. Fire them. It could mean a lot for extending your life in this wild west labor policy situation American labor laws are in a state of.


Jerry July 5, 2013 at 7:44 am

At my job right now were having issues over hours that should be paid if your told to come in after your normal start time so for me normal work is 5a-2p M-F, if I am told the night before via text to come in 7a next morning, I am losing 2 hrs, I feel I should still get paid from 5a. Also this disagreement on minimum hours paid if you work an 8 hrs shift normal and come in but told less then halfway through to cut out and take off early, I was told they must pay you for 4 hrs minimum.??


Jamie July 5, 2013 at 9:50 am

Are you a temp? Many temp agencies have a rule that if you request workers and they show up you need to pay at least 4 hours, even if dismissed early (not for cause).

And unless you have an employment contract non-exempt personnel aren’t entitled to a full 8 hour day, every day…although I don’t know if laws are different in other states (and I have NO idea about California…)

Check your employee handbook to see what you’re entitled to above what the law requires…but IME if you’re asked to come in later you wouldn’t get paid for the two hours missed.


Sandy July 11, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Hi, I live in Indiana. My husband is a hourly worker in a factory and is scheduled to work 5 eight hour days a week. The foreman went home sick so they closed the factory after working only two hours. Is he entitled to 4 hours pay that day? he did show up for his shift. Thank you so much for your time


jim July 12, 2013 at 10:35 am

Hello, I live in Ohio. The building i work at was closed because of damage from high winds, the roof was torn off along with a broken gas line making it an unsafe work environment. Once police and fire departments arrived we were told to go home. My question is should we be paid if scheduled to work on the days it was closed? I am an hourly employee.


Ang August 7, 2013 at 6:02 pm

I work at a dental office. I’m a full time employee although full time for us is 36 hours. The electricity went out and the doctor close the office.
I Drive 40 minutes to work and we sat there for an hour trying to get ahold of him. once we did, he said he is not coming in as he had trouble at his house due to a tree on his car. we were unable to work due to a lack of electricity and he told us to cancel patients and go home.
Do we get paid for the day he closed the office or even the time we were there waiting for him?


KellyK December 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm

If you’re non-exempt, I think you would have to be paid from the time you showed up to the time he told you to cancel and go home. If you’re exempt, I would think you’d have to be paid for the full day. (That’s a layperson’s best understanding, and should not in any way be mistaken for the advice of a legal or HR professional.)


Al December 10, 2013 at 7:51 am

Please help. I am a salaried employee and the office manager of a small dental office, does the size of of the company matter because my boss never pays me when he closes the office do to weather or any reason and says he does not have to because he has a small company and those rules don’t apply to him, I any info would be great


Pay Policy Needed December 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm

We had employee from all over the world come to our Texas location to complete a training course. The ice storm hit and many of our employees flights were cancelled or delay a couple of days. These are non-exempt employees. Do we pay them while they were sitting in the hotel room waiting to return home?


Ask a Manager December 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm

You sure should.


Pay Policy Needed December 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Do you pay them for just their regular 8 hour shift or does the clock stop when land at their final destination? There is no established policy for this type of situation so any advice is greatly appreciated.


Ask a Manager December 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

What would you normally be paying them if they were working full days during that time? I’d use that as a minimum here, but might throw in something extra to acknowledge hardship, especially since it’s around the holidays.


KellyK December 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I would say you pay them their regular day’s pay for any days where they’re just stuck in the hotel. For days that they’re actively traveling (or trying to), either a regular day’s pay, or the hours they spend traveling (including waiting around at the airport), whichever is greater.

(For example, if they show up at the airport at 7 AM, but their 9 AM flight is delayed, they end up actually leaving at 11, and it’s 5 PM before they get home, paying for all 10 hours is reasonable.)


sam December 25, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I am a full time supervisor at a restaurant. My workplace got caught on fire and we are expectinh a closedown for three days. Will I get paid for these 3days??


Jena January 30, 2014 at 10:08 am

Hi. My work has shut down due to weather. I am a salaried employee without overtime pay.
Do they have to pay me for the day I was not able to come to work? I am being told otherwise. Where is the law that states this?

Thank you.


Roxanne January 31, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Our Governor called a State of Emergency to severe winter weather here in Alabama. All roads were closed and unsafe to drive on. I still have to take leave. That is fine, but I will not do anything other than my job duties. I will not work late or take any work home with me. My supervisor took all my motivation to go over and beyond when she showed NO concern for my safety.


Marie February 7, 2014 at 9:53 am

All of these comments were extremely insightful. What happens if your office is closed because there is no power. So, no phones, no internet, no heat, and barely any lights (just running by back up generator). It is not the type of place where you can work from home either. My employer could not “afford to pay us” if we left, although we are salary. This job involves children too. He wanted us to remain open, even without power or heat.

I just don’t understand how your pay could be docked especially if there is literally no functioning equipment at your job and it is completely out of your control.


Nicole February 13, 2014 at 11:33 am

Everything I’ve been reading has been for full time workers. I work part time at a university. What about closures due to weather for part time workers? Or if a class is cancelled by a prof for some other reason (I work in the classrooms sometimes)? Are part time workers supposed to be paid for this? We are willing and ready to show up to work, so not working is through no fault of our own. Thanks.


Kindle fire hd review February 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Why people still make use of to read news papers when in this technological globe everything is existing on web?


ralph May 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm

i work in a well known restaurant in nyc. there was a fire a few nites ago.the restarant will be closed for a few weeks.what is the policy on my wages ? do i get paid. what is the policy for this unexpexted closing?


Pedro May 27, 2014 at 6:27 pm

If Your boss tells You,You have mememorial day off Paid ,but then You come back on tuesday…and. he tells You at 7hrs You HAVE to work till 10 at regular to make up for day that day He already gave Off paid is that legal


DD July 2, 2014 at 10:05 am

So, power went out at the office yesterday and we were all dismissed a half hour early. We are not getting paid for the half hour of work missed. I think that is BS because we were told to go home. If I would have known I was not going to get paid for the last 30 minutes of work, I would have sat around the extra half an hour organizing or something. That is so wrong!!


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