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Am I entitled to pay during bad weather?

With heavy rains, wind and flooding disrupting Georgia’s neighboring states, many in Atlanta wonder if Florence or another major storm were to strike, will I be paid if I can’t get to work? When dangerous storms hit, weather stations will issue warnings advising residents to take cover, stay off the roads, and in the worst case, evacuate. But those workers who are dependent on their daily wages may be reluctant to stay at home (or leave) if it means missing work.

Depending on the situation however, you still may be paid.

For example, non-exempt employees generally only need to be paid for time worked. Thus, if they are unable to make it into work, then an employer is generally not required to pay them. However, if you perform remote work, then your employer must pay you for the time spent working. If you are a salaried non-exempt worker, depending on the terms of your employment, you may be entitled to be paid for a full week even if your office is closed due to weather conditions.

Exempt employees generally must be paid. However, if the office is open, but an exempt employee cannot make it in, the day may be counted toward paid time off (PTO) or personal days.

Similarly, if employees report to work but are sent home, non-exempt employees generally need only be paid for time worked. Exempt employees who show up but are then sent home are generally entitled to a full day’s pay.

Further, in some circumstances it is allowable for employers to require employees use vacation days or PTO days when the office closes due to weather related conditions.

While in general many of these policies favor the employer, it may be in the company’s best interest to provide more leniency when dangerous conditions exist. Such policies go a long way in showing employees that an employer cares, and may foster a sense of community, promote generosity, and improve morale.

For example, if staff would like to assist in recovery and relief efforts, companies can grant additional time off to assist. They may also may exceptions and allow more employees to work remotely. Other options include providing for emergency advances of wages, and counting more hours worked for those non-exempt employees who make it to work.

Thus, it is important to check with your employer as well as local laws to determine your right to wages and compensation during a weather emergency. An experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney can help answer any of your compensation questions.

For more information please contact the dedicated Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.