Inclement Weather Policy Sample

Understand the Ramifications of Emergencies for Employers and Employees

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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. 

Weather 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 their place of employment.

You also need a policy that will alert your clients and customers when you close due to a weather or other emergency. You don't want them trying to reach you under dangerous conditions either.

Wondering about the rationale and the factors that were considered in creating this policy? Take a look at the article from which this policy was developed, see Inclement Weather or Emergency Business Closing.

Inclement Weather Policy

Your company recognizes the fact that inclement weather and other emergencies can affect the company’s ability to open for business and the employee’s ability to get to work. The safety of our employees is paramount in any emergency.

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

Fortunately, emergencies and inclement weather days are infrequent, but these are the guidelines for when they occur.

Company Closure

When an emergency such as these examples occurs, the company is closed.

  • over a foot of snow falls,
  • electricity is out,
  • heat in the winter is not available,
  • flooding affects transportation, or
  • the governor declares a weather emergency and asks people to stay off the roads.

We will keep the company closed for the briefest period of time possible.

Pay for Employees

During the time when the company is closed, exempt employees will receive their full salary for their normal hours worked for up to one work week.

Nonexempt employees and interns will receive their hourly pay for their normally scheduled hours for up to one work week. (This means that if an employee's normal work hours are 40 in one work week, 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 work week, at the end of the one work week, 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 time period.

In return for this pay during the paid work week 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.

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 cover 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 number of days may be altered by the regulations of the insurance companies 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 teleworking 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. The closing will be announced by local radio and television stations, 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. If 18” of snow falls, employees 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 thereafter. Payment of salary or hourly wages ends on the day the company reopens if the employee does not show up for work or telework, whatever is the employee's normal working arrangement.

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

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

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.

The Company Is Open and the Employee Cannot 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 Time for Repairs

The company is aware that in emergency situations 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. The site is read by a world-wide audience 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.­­