Paying HOURLY employees when there is a power outage

[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 08-19-03 AT 09:43AM (CST)[/font][p][font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 08-19-03 AT 09:43 AM (CST)[/font]

We pay our exempt employees for the full day. But I actually have a question about non exempt employees. Can anyone tell me how they treated their hourly employees? I've heard that they were NOT paid and I also heard that they were because this was a state of emergency. I just wanted to see which option was most common? I appreciate your responses.
Denise (Northern NJ)


  • 8 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Hope you get some responses because I want to see what others are doing as well. We do pay the non-exempts for the day unless they are scheduled off (sick leave or vacation leave approved). In which case we charge them the leave. However, this morning I have an employee who swears she would have come in if the office had been open because her plans were cancelled because of the weather. While I am not buying it -- I would love to see what other companies do.
  • Whether hourlys are paid or not will be a mater purely of emp/er policy. The law only requires that hourlys be paid for 'actual' work. If emp/er wants to be benevolent, then some extra comp may be paid, but need not. Last major pwr outage, we paid for 1/2 day the employees who were in, did not pay for balance of day nor next day. E/ees scheduled off were simply off and their leave bank was handled as if everyone had worked as scheduled. We did permit hourlys who were not being paid the option to use PTO. Hope this helps.
  • DASHER: BOTH OF YOU SHOULD HAVE YOUR OSHA REQUIRED EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN OUT AND READING! Pull it out and read what your plan says in these emergency procedures! If it isn't there then back off and put it there for all to read and know! What did your company do after HUGO? It is my own opinion, but as a caring company, we would not charge the sick and vacationing employee, sick nor vacation time (their awarded valuable time) and award the emergency effected employee with an automatic 8 hours. The rightful thing to do is award both the emergency situation value, and thank the lord that nothing bad happened to those that tried to get in but couldn't. Don't doubt the ee, when you doubt your own understanding of the rules; a smart "Jail house lawyer EE" will try you every time, they will know the loop holes and squeeze through and dare you to test them! Only take adverse and negative action toward EEs, when it is very clearly a rouse and abuse of the system by the ee.


  • Our policy addresses this situation as follows:

    Special Circumstance - Enterprise Closure
    Should an enterprise close due to circumstances beyond the employee’s control, the enterprise shall reimburse employees who are on the clock for the remainder of that shift. For the duration of the closure, all scheduled employees will be reimbursed for two hours time per shift to a maximum of 12 hours. Employees will be able to use any available sick and/or vacation paid leave to compensate for any scheduled lost time due to the closure.

    Hope this helps.

  • Pork: Our OSHA required Emergency Action Plan does not address company issues such as payment or non-payment for closures. I've never seen one that does. OSHA is not concerned with whether or not an employer pays employees when they must shut down the operation.
  • Don D. Our's does not either, but you know Pork.
    Pork - Why are you shouting at me again -- thought we were friends.
    Leslie -- Thanks, that really helps and I will adapt a "Special Circumstances" policy for our handbook.

    We paid all employees scheduled to work for the day we closed, and would you believe we still have some upset folk. One fellow said to my face, well why do I have to be charged leave when others are getting admin time. He was on a two-week vacation in Florida for heaven's sake!
  • Better check any applicable state laws as well. FLSA isn't the only game in town in some states.
  • I don't know if every company can afford to do this, but our practice is this:

    If the office is open, and they cannot get to work because of bad weather (ie. ice storms or snow), we do not pay them.

    If they are scheduled to work and we cannot provide work for them because the office is closed due to a power outage or bad weather, we pay them for the full day, but no overtime, even if they otherwise routinely work it.

    If they are scheduled on vacation, days off, etc, they get paid no different as if everything was OK, because they were not obligated to be at work due to prior arrangements.

    The reason that we pay employees a full day if no work is done is because the employees are still obligated to "reserve" that time for us. They have to be up and ready that morning for us to call them to tell them if they need to report to work. As a company, we don't see it as "their" time.
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