It’s what some are calling the storm of the decade and it seems so out of place in the South Sound. Unfortunately, the storm is here and businesses are having to make unfamiliar payroll decisions.

For example, should employees who can’t leave their houses due to the snow be docked a day’s pay? Must the employer treat salaried and hourly employees differently? Are employees allowed to make up work they missed because of the weather?

Lani Powell, president and founder of Powell Human Resources Consulting LLC, said these are questions that employers should have addressed in company policies and manuals before the first snow even landed here. However, since companies cannot turn back the hands of time, she said there are some things employers should keep in mind when making weather-related payroll decisions.
“It’s really all over the map,” Powell said about how employers handle these types of situations. “Most employers don’t pay for snow-days, but they do allow for people to take personal days.”

Some employers who do choose to close down for the day might pay their staff for that day. However, Powell said businesses must usually limit the number of days they would allow this particular policy.

Employers are not required by law to pay hourly employees for time they did not work due to weather conditions. However, Powell explained, hourly and salaried-exempt employees are different in how they are treated. Employers should make sure they are following the Fair Labor Standards Act and company policies, when determining who should or should not be paid.

For employers without policies to follow, Powell said two of the best things they can do are be creative in coming up with solutions and effectively communicate those with their employees.