What do companies do, regarding PTO, when a state of emergency is declared and employees stay home from work due to either snow or rain? Do most companies make employees use PTO if they can't do work/or choose not to do work from home?
Below are three excerpts from the regulatory analysis dealing with emergency closings. They are from the HR.BLR web site. I hope you find it helpful.
Docking pay. Reducing pay of employees scheduled to work, but who do not because of an emergency, may affect the employees’ status of being exempt from overtime. Generally, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) permits an employer to make a deduction for a full-day absence for an exempt employee—but only for a full-day absence—when an exempt employee chooses not report to work due to an emergency. However, if the exempt employee is absent for only part of the day because of the emergency, the employer may not make a deduction from pay. Instead, the employer may make a deduction from paid time off such as unused vacation time, if any (FLSA Opinion 2005-46).
Flexibility and discretion. Because a natural disaster may close a business for 1 day or for 1 month, an employer may want to allow for varying circumstances in its policy. For a 1-day closing, an employer may want to pay employees for the time missed even if the law allows it to make deductions. For a 2-month-long closing, an organization may need to take deductions, require employees to take vacations or other measures as part of the company’s efforts to survive financially.
Forced vacations for a closed business. The FLSA does not require an employer to provide vacation time. If an employer closes its business because of an emergency, it may require exempt employees to use any accrued vacation time. However, if the exempt employee has no accrued vacation time, the employee must be paid for those days missed, unless the business is closed for an entire workweek. If the business is closed for only part of the workweek, the exempt employee who has no vacation time must be paid (FLSA Opinion 2005-41). Please keep in mind that different rules apply to the injured or ill exempt employee or the employee who does not report to work in an emergency. State law may be different.
In Glennallen, Alaska, it would be EXTREMELY rare for this to happen. If it did however, no, we would not charge their PTO or vacation time. It is not the fault of the employee to be unable to get to work if the roads are not cleared.
If they can safely make it to work or have the capability to work from home and choose not to, YES, I feel they should be charged. Remeber though, this is only an opinion and you know what is said about opinions....
I would always check your state's DOL laws and Federal laws on this before making any decision.