While students are fortunate enough to get the occasional snow day, working professionals know that business doesn't necessarily stop just because the weather is bad. Yet at the same time, companies have to look out for the safety of their employees, which can be threatened by extreme precipitation or icy roads.
Does your company's inclement weather policy need an overhaul? What are your responsibilities in the middle of a winter storm? Read on to find out.
Check your current plan
The first thing to do is to assess your current inclement weather policy. If you aren't able to locate this bit of company legislation, don't fret. Inc. magazine noted that around 44 percent of companies don't have any sort of weather-related response plan in place. Even if this is the case for your business, now's a good time to fill in any gaps so your organization can be prepared for any eventuality.
Your weather policy should cover more than just if and when the office is closed in the event of a winter storm. There are several logistical points that need to be addressed, including who is responsible for making the final call when it comes to office closures, and how the unenviable task of informing the rest of the company should be tackled. When laying out these foundational details, it's best to leave nothing to chance and to make no assumptions that other employees have been filled in.
"Don't be afraid to repeat yourself. It's not insulting – make it your customary announcement at the end of September or early October. Continually communicate," business consultant Rania Sedhom told Inc. magazine.
The PTO question
One of the more contentious issues surrounding winter weather policies has to do with how and if employees are to be compensated for shifts canceled by snow. In some parts of the country, nonexempt employees may be required to use their banked PTO to cover absences resulting from inclement weather. However, this likely won't hold true in instances where the employer makes the call to close the office due to snow.
Another key point is the distinction between whether employees are eligible for any form of compensation when the office closes for snow. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, any exempt employee under existing overtime legislation must be compensated for missed pay if he or she does any work during the closure – even remotely. In contrast, nonexempt employees are only compensated for shifts that they worked.