Inclement Weather Policy Sample

Understand the Ramifications of Emergencies for Employers and Employees

Car buried under a snow bank means someone will not be able to get to work.
•••

David Rosenberg / Getty Images

Inclement weather events and other emergencies range from hurricanes to tornadoes to snow and sleet. You must prepare your business for closure when employees would experience dangerous conditions trying to report to work. A well thought out policy should be a part of your company's plans and contained in the employee manual.

You want your policy to cover all of the types of weather and emergencies and includes a way to notify employees, vendors, and customers of your closure. Your goal is to keep them all out of harm's way.

A Be Prepared Policy

Your company recognizes the fact that inclement weather and other emergencies can affect the company’s ability to open for business. It can make it hard for workers to get to their jobs, vendors to deliver orders and supplies, and customers to visit your store or office. Your company may choose to employ a phone tree to notify employees of a business closure. Social media posts are an excellent tool to inform vendors and customers of your closure.

The safety of people is paramount in an emergency. Fortunately, emergencies and inclement weather days are infrequent. But, you should act like a Boyscout and "Be Prepared".

No policy can cover every potential emergency, so this policy covers the most common. 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.

Company Closure

The Oxford dictionary defines an emergency as a "serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation". Such situations can be caused by weather, terrorist, or other events and may require the unexpected closure of your place of business. Of course, you only want to remain closed for the briefest time possible, but your primary goal is to keep everyone safe.

Emergency situations can include:

  • Impending bad conditions such as a hurricane or wildfire
  • Over a foot of snow falls in a short period
  • Electricity is out
  • Heating or cooling is not available,
  • Flooding affects roads or other transportation
  • The governor declares an emergency asking people to stay home

Inclement Weather Policy and Employee Pay

When the company is closed, exempt employees will receive their full salary for their normal hours worked for up to one workweek.

Nonexempt employees and interns will receive their hourly pay for their normally scheduled hours for up to one workweek. This policy means that if an employee's normal work is a 40-hour workweek, the employee will receive their hourly pay for 40 hours. If an intern's normal schedule calls for 16 hours, the employer will pay for 16 hours. No overtime will be paid to any employee.

For an unlikely emergency that extends beyond one workweek, at the end of the one workweek, 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 period.

In return for this payment during the paid workweek, while the company is closed, employees are expected to work at home if feasible. Exempt employees will likely have the opportunity to catch up on paperwork or work online—if power is available, They might even schedule remote meetings if other needed participants have access to a computer with power.

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 workflow. Also, 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.

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.

Benefits Coverage for Employees

During the company closure, the employer will continue to provide coverage for all employees with 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 regulations of the insurance companies may alter the number of days and/or by Federal or state law.

The benefits that are associated with physically attending work such as free beverages, free 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 management approved remote working 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. Local radio and television stations will announce the closing, 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 that 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. Also, in cases of extreme snow or rainfall, the employee should come into work only if they can make it safely.

No pressure is extended from this employer, at any time, that would encourage employees to take unsafe chances to attend work.

Extending Employee Leave

When the company closure ends, all employees are expected to report to work whether the closure ends on day two or after that. Payment of salary or hourly wages ends on the day the company reopens if the employee does not show up for work or remote work, whatever is the employee's normal working arrangement.

Certain jobs can be worked from home if chaos continues in the region, but for exempt employees, remote working must be arranged, on an individual basis, with the employee’s manager. Remote working 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.

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.

When Company Is Open but Employee Can't Get to Work

Individual employee circumstances may affect an employee’s ability to come to work. The 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 Additional Time

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 emergencies. These will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and decisions will also be affected by the employee’s job requirements.

The company is aware that in emergencies 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 supervisor to make arrangements.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided, while authoritative, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality. A worldwide audience reads the site and employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your location. This information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance.