Sunday, August 28, 2011

Missing Work Because of Hurricane Irene

New York City is shutdown. Subways, buses, commuter trains, and many bridges and tunnels are all not open for business. Because of this, many businesses are the same, closing their doors yesterday and today in anticipation of the storm so they can get their employees back to their families. But some businesses will stay open today and tomorrow and according to Employment Matters, their employees are therefore responsible to come in:
If you decide to stay open for business, whether on Sunday when New York and Massachusetts expect Hurricane Irene (or some other significant tropical storm) to hit, and/or on Monday, when most will be surveying the damage, you may lawfully deduct a full-day’s absence from the salary of any exempt employee for each day he or she chooses not to show up to work, even if the conditions make it physically impossible to come in. However, if the employee works for some of the day, then you cannot make any deduction to his or her salary for that day. At the same time, if you have the appropriate leave policy in place, you can require your employees to utilize their paid vacation or other leave to account for the absence from work. 
But if you decide to close?
If you decide to shut your doors, then you cannot make any deductions from your exempt employees’ salaries, even if they would not have been able to make it to work. Once again, however, you can require them to utilize paid leave to account for the absence.
It may seem harsh to deduct the salary of an employee who skips work or demand that they take a paid vacation day in light of the storm that has hit our area, but in some jobs where their presence is required today or tomorrow, it be a necessary measure you need to take and it's good to know that you are justified in doing so. 

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