This question is a common one for employers during winter months in Connecticut.
For the most part, an employer’s obligation to compensate employees during bad weather is based primarily on a worker’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) classification.
- Nonexempt employees (employees who are entitled to overtime pay): In Connecticut, employers are only required to pay hourly, nonexempt employees for hours worked with the exception of retail, hotel and restaurant workers. Hotels and restaurants are required to pay non-exempt employees for at least two hours if the employees report to work, and the business closes early due to bad weather; retail establishments must pay for at least four hours on the same basis. If a hotel, restaurant or retail store is unable to open due to inclement weather, employers have no obligation to pay wages for that day. For all other nonexempt employees, employers are not required to pay for business closures or early closures.
- Exempt employees (employees not entitled to overtime pay – typically managers and others): If an employer closes for an entire day, the employer is still obligated to pay exempt employees for the entire day.
- To avoid misunderstandings about company closing policy – make sure you spell out that policy in writing – and make sure each of your employees has seen the policy and understands it.
- Make sure you have a clear process in place to notify employees of a closing. The process should include a clear chain of command for deciding on closing.
- To avoid possible injury lawsuits – make sure your inclement weather policy makes it clear that employees should not endanger themselves by coming to work during stormy conditions.
If you are an employer in Connecticut and have questions about matters pertaining to your closing policy or your employee handbook, contact the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale. Each of us has over 20 years of experience in all aspects of employment and labor law and can help you with this complicated topic. Please contact us if we can help you.
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