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Thursday, June 02, 2011
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The recent flooding raised a question with my clients: "Do I have to pay employees for "_________ (fill in the blank—snow, ice, flood, locus-- days" they did not work? And the answer is . . . wait for it. . . it depends. Typical lawyer answer, right?

For hourly employees the answer is easy. No, you do not have to pay hourly employees for hours they do not work. You can let them use vacation or PTO if you have such a plan. Of course, you can always pay them even though the law does not require it. If you do pay more than the law requires, let your employees know it so that--i) they know what a good person you are, and ii) they do not think they are entitled to it the next time this happens.

For salaried exempt employees the answer is more complicated. Exempt means the employee is exempt from the requirement to pay overtime for hours worked over 40. The analysis of whether an employee is exempt is way beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say getting paid on a salary is generally one of the requirements to be exempt.

You must be very careful if you are going to take money away from a salaried employee. The general rule is you can deduct from a salaried employee's paycheck if: i) they did not work at all on the day in question, ii) they do not have vacation or sick time to cover the time off, and iii) the absence was for personal reasons.

Then the question becomes did they miss for personal reasons? If you close the office and tell people not to come in, the missed time is not for personal reasons and you should pay the salaried employees. If the office is open and they do not come in at all that day, you can deduct for the full day.

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    J. Edward Enoch P.C.
    3540 Wheeler Rd, Ste. 312
    Augusta, GA 30909
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