top of page


Updated: Sep 30, 2022

Snow Day. Bomb Cyclone. Whatever you call it, severe weather wreaks havoc for payroll processors, H.R. professionals, and management alike.

While it’s not always easy to get employers and employees on the same page, here are 6 strategies to align decision makers around severe weather, paid leave, and business needs:

  1. Align Culture and Policy. Define your company culture. All jokes aside, the post office’s slogan of “rain, sleet or snow” defines its culture. If your organization is required to stay open (e.g., hospitals) or serves clients in another part of the world, closing down due to local weather could negatively impact public or business needs. Accordingly, the company culture should reflect this need to be unstoppable in all circumstances.

  2. Create Weather Policy. After identifying your company culture, an organization should create a clear, written policy, and specify the employer’s right to modify the policy. The best written policies cannot anticipate work deadlines or every business need.

  3. Communicate Early. Even with a written policy in place, leaders should communicate their expectations as early as possible. For example, if an employer is expecting employees to work on-site and all area schools are closed, early communication allows employees to make appropriate child care arrangements and supports the business culture, employees, and business needs.

  4. Be Flexible and Wise. Further, if your industry, culture, and policies could allow employees to work from home, then allowing employees to do so conveys genuine concern for employees’ well-being and, practically speaking, minimize injuries, towed cars, or inefficient delays. Similarly, where an employee is expected to report to work, genuine appreciation for the employee’s efforts to perform his or her work duties is invaluable.

  5. Be an Equal Opportunity Annoyance. When it comes to severe weather and pay adjustments, employers can be thrilled to know that all employees could be annoyed with a decision to pay everyone or a decision to deduct pay. For example, if an employer decides to pay everyone, those employees who struggled to show up could feel negatively towards those who didn’t bother getting out of their pajamas. Again, here’s where written policies will avoid surprising and irritating employees.

  6. Legal Reminder for Hourly/Salaried Employees. Absent a policy to the contrary, an employer is not required to pay hourly employee for the office closure — even if the employee was willing to work but did not. On the other hand, under federal and many state laws, exempt and salaried employees generally cannot have their pay deducted for a missed day of work due to a weather-related office closure. However, if the salaried/exempt employee elected not to work that day, policies will define whether the employee can use unpaid leave or have his or her pay deducted.

Each organization’s severe weather policy should align with the company’s culture and business needs. Employers are wise to align their policies to ensure the business needs are met and the team receives fair and consistent treatment.

What are your best experiences with severe weather policies? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Quick reminder: The legal analysis includes many variables not listed. Be sure to seek employment law guidance before applying these concepts to your specific circumstances.

Stay focused,


0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page