How do you handle employee attendance issues when severe weather strikes your area?

In a survey of 250 East Coast employers that we conducted after Hurricane Sandy, the majority – 58.1% – said they closed and gave employees time off with pay when the big storm blew in. Another 8.8% said they were open, but employees weren’t charged vacation time or PTO if they failed to make it in.

Another 22.3% stayed open and charged a day off to employees who didn’t come in, while 9.8% were closed and didn’t pay for the missed time (see chart at bottom.)

Storms can happen anytime. And so employers should consider having a severe weather policy that covers:

  • Your method(s) of communicating whether you’re open or closed.
  • Which essential personnel must report or stay even if you close.
  • Exempt employees, who should be be paid their full salary if you’re closed; and non-exempt employees, who can either be given the time off or required to use paid time off.
  • Whether absences will count against employees under attendance policy.
  • Whether and when people will be allowed to telecommute.

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