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Inclement Weather Policy Sample

Understand the Ramifications for Employers and Employees

By

Flooded NYC
Bjarte Rettedal/ Stone/ Getty Images

You may adapt this inclement weather and other emergency sample policy for your organization and your organization's culture. But, keep in mind the potential disasters that you may experience in your city or region as you customize this inclement weather and emergency policy for your organization.

Wondering about the rationale and the factors that were considered in creating this policy? Take a look at: Inclement Weather or Emergency Business Closing

Inclement Weather Policy

Your company recognizes the fact that inclement weather and other emergencies can affect the company’s ability to open for business and the employee’s ability to get to work. The safety of our employees is paramount in any emergency. No policy can cover every potential emergency situation, so this policy covers the most common.

Fortunately, emergencies and inclement weather days are infrequent, but these are the guidelines for when they occur.

Company Closure

When an emergency such as these examples occurs, the company is closed.

  • over a foot of snow falls,
  • electricity is out,
  • flooding affects transportation, or
  • the governor declares a weather emergency and asks people to stay off the roads.

We will keep the company closed for the briefest period of time possible. During the time when the company is closed, exempt employees will receive their full salary for their normal hours worked for up to one work week. Nonexempt employees and interns will receive their hourly pay for their scheduled hours for up to one work week. No overtime will be paid.

At the end of the one work week, employees will be expected to use paid time off (PTO) to cover additional days that the company may be closed to ensure that they continue to receive their pay. No overtime will be paid during this time period.

In return for this pay during the paid work week while the company is closed, employees are expected to work at home if feasible. Even employees who have jobs that usually require their physical presence at work can do such tasks as developing an up-to-date job description or improving their work flow. Thinking about how to do your job so that your work continuously improves is another. Reading journals and books related to your work is also a fair exchange.

During the company closure, employees will continue to be covered by the company’s standard health insurance plan and other benefits such as life insurance and short and long term disability insurance for up to 30 days. The number of days may be altered by the regulations of the insurance companies and / or by Federal or state law. The benefits that are associated with physically attending work such as free beverages, Friday lunches, and family events will not be offered during a company closure.

Payment of salary or hourly wages to employees who are not at work and who have no approved teleworking plan, ends the day the company reopens.

Notification

In an emergency, managers will make every effort to notify employees by phone of the closure through departmental call trees. The closing will be announced by local radio and television stations, employees will be emailed, and the closing will be posted on the website.

All of these assume that all or some employees have access to electricity and phones. Employees are encouraged to own, for example, a radio that runs on batteries so they do not lose contact with the outside world. But, in a regional power outage, recognize that the employer’s best efforts to notify employees of the closure may not work.

When the employer is unable to notify employees of the closure, employees are asked to use common sense and make their best assessment of the safety and practicality of the situation. In a regional power outage, for example, employees will know that the company is likely to have no power. If 18” of snow falls, employees should come into work only if they can make it safely.

Extending Employee Leave

When the company closure ends, all employees are expected to report to work whether the closure ends on day two or thereafter. Payment of salary or hourly wages ends on the day the company reopens. Certain jobs can be worked from home if chaos continues in the region, but teleworking for exempt employees must be arranged, on an individual basis, with the employee’s manager. Teleworking is not available as an option for nonexempt employees.

Employees who cannot return to work at the end of the company closure must arrange additional time off with their manager. If the employee has used up PTO, he or she will be required to apply for an extended unpaid leave of absence. The company recognizes that some employees may need additional time off to repair extensive home damage, for mass transit to be available for transportation to work, and a variety of other emergency situations. These will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and decisions will also be affected by the employee’s job requirements.

Part-Day Closure

If an emergency event such as inclement weather or a power outage occurs, the executive team may determine that the company will close mid-day. When the company closes mid-day, employees are encouraged to leave immediately so that the conditions do not further deteriorate and affect their ability to safely travel.

Exempt employees who were, working at home with prior permission, or at the office on the day of the partial day closure, will be paid their normal salary. Nonexempt employees and interns will be paid for their scheduled hours of work. No overtime will be paid. Employees who had taken the day off will have the day subtracted from their allotted PTO as would have occurred if the company did not close.

The Company Is Open and the Employee Cannot Get to Work

Individual employee circumstances may affect an employee’s ability to come to work. Key to assessing the situation on a case-by-case basis is the communication between the employee and his or her manager. The company recognizes that in a severe national or regional disaster, all methods of communication may be unavailable, but employees should persist, by any method possible, to reach their manager to discuss individual circumstances.

All pay, leave, and attendance policies included here will apply, regardless of the circumstances of the absenteeism.

The Employee Needs Time for Repairs

The company is aware that in emergency situations or inclement weather emergencies, employees may lose family members. They may lose their home and all regular activities such as school and daycare. In any circumstances, all pay, leave, and attendance policies included here will apply, regardless of the circumstances of the absenteeism.

The company bereavement policy will apply in the case of the death of a family member. Extended unpaid leaves of absence are available, depending on the need. Employees should communicate with their manager or his or her manager to make arrangements.

Disclaimer – Please Note:

Susan Heathfield makes every effort to offer accurate, common-sense, ethical Human Resources management, employer, and workplace advice both on this website, and linked to from this website, but she is not an attorney, and the content on the site, while authoritative, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality, and is not to be construed as legal advice.

The site has a world-wide audience and employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country, so the site cannot be definitive on all of them for your workplace. When in doubt, always seek legal counsel or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct. The information on this site is for guidance, ideas, and assistance only.

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