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Policies for Inclement Weather: What Employers Need to Know

As we enter the Summer, we enter Hurricane season in Texas.  While employers have a duty to keep their businesses running, they must also balance the safety of their employees, especially when the weather creates potentially hazardous travel conditions.

To prepare for these situations, it’s essential to have an inclement weather policy in place as part of your business continuity plan. Include considerations such as:

  • Criteria for ceasing business operations (for example, some businesses follow the lead of local school districts or city offices)
  • Method of notifying employees of a business closure due to bad weather
  • Call-in procedures for employees who cannot come to work due to weather conditions (for example, will you require a phone call, or would a text or email be considered acceptable?)
  • Pay policies for hourly and salaried employees if they are unable to work due to bad weather

Regarding pay for work missed due to inclement weather, here are the regulations for Texas employers:

  • Hourly employees may simply be paid for the number of hours worked. If your paid-leave policy permits, they may apply available paid leave to time missed due to inclement weather.
  • Salaried non-exempt employees may have paid leave balances docked if consistent with your paid leave policy. They may also have their pay docked, as long as they have given written authorization for such a deduction.
  • Salaried exempt employees may not have pay docked in increments of less than a full work-week at a time for weather absences due to inclement weather.

According to the State of Texas, absences due to the closure of your business resulting from inclement weather should not count towards your company’s stated absence limit for employees. If, on the other hand, the business is operational and other employees are able to come in, elective absences by employees may count toward an absence limit.

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