The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) sets out minimum standards for wage rates and the calculation of overtime, and defines which employees are exempt and non-exempt from these minimum standards. The FLSA governs if, and when, employees must be paid when a workplace is closed due to inclement weather or other unforeseen event.
FLSA Snow Day Pay Rules
The FLSA classifies employees into two categories: exempt and non-exempt.
Exempt Employees. An employee is exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA if (a) he or she is employed in a bona fide executive, administrative or professional capacity, as those terms are defined in the FLSA; (b) he or she is paid a predetermined amount of at least $455.00 per week; and (c) the predetermined amount is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed.
Under the FLSA, there are limited exceptions to the prohibition of deductions from the pay of exempt employees. An employer may reduce the salary of an exempt employee who does not come to work for one or more full days for reasons other than accident or illness. But, if an exempt employee is ready, able and willing to work, an employer may not deduct from his or her salary if work is not available; for example, if a workplace is closed because of snow. Whether an employee is ready, able and willing to work is determined with reference to who makes the decision to work or not work. If an employee decides not to report to work in inclement weather when the workplace is open, the employer is not required to pay the employee for that day. If, on the other hand, an employer closes its workplace, the exempt employee must be paid for that day, even if he or she might not have been able to report for work because of bad weather.
Because the FLSA does not require employers to offer vacation time or sick days, an employer who does so may require an exempt employee to offset vacation days against snow days, if the employee is paid an amount equal to his or her salary for that day.
Non-exempt Employees. Non-exempt employees are those who are paid an hourly wage, and are not employed as executives, administrators or professionals. The FLSA requires that non-exempt employees must be paid only for those hours actually worked. Accordingly, employers are not required to pay non-exempt employees on snow days, even if the employer voluntarily closes its workplace.