Over the past several days Hurricane Dorian has affected United States coastal towns to varying degrees. While the impact on Georgia was limited, with hurricane season just beginning, it’s a good idea for employers and employees to understand their legal rights, and how their pay may be affected if weather impacts their ability to work.
The extent to which weather-related work outages affects your pay is largely dependent upon your classification – whether you are considered an exempt vs. non-exempt employee.
Pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), if you are non-exempt, then your employer is required to pay you for all time-worked, including time over and above 40-hours in any one work-week. Alternatively, your employer generally does not need to pay you when you don’t work – for example when your office or place of employment is closed due to weather or storm-related damage. However, if you are able to perform remote work, then you may have a claim for compensation. It is important that this time is approved ahead of time, and that you accurately document such work. Further, on-call workers may also be entitled to compensation if they have placed restrictions on their time to be available to their employers, even if they are not able to be called in due to weather related circumstances. Finally, in many circumstances, if hourly workers show up for work, but are sent home due to weather conditions, they may be entitled to receive a minimal amount.
If you are an exempt employee, while you are not entitled to overtime compensation, in most situations, you are entitled to be paid even if your office closes due to weather. In some situations, employers may treat office closures as paid time off. As such, it is a good idea to check with you employer to determine their policies prior to office closures.For more information, or if you have any wage and hour question, please contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.