In anticipation of Hurricane Dorian’s landfall, employers should ensure that their emergency policies and procedures adequately address any storm-related issues. The top priority should be the safety of all who may be affected. Employers should stay apprised of storm preparedness information and warnings posted on the websites of both the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
In the event of business closures during or as a result of the hurricane, or if employees are unable to report to work, employers should make sure employees are paid in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the specific employee’s status. Employers are not required to pay non-exempt employees for days that they do not work. In the case of exempt employees, employers should pay them their regular salary during any shutdown that lasts less than a week; however, if the business is open but an exempt employee is unable to report to work because of weather, their salary may be deducted for a full day’s absence.
Finally, after the weather has cleared, employers should be sure their employees return to a safe workplace which is in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) standards.
If you have any questions regarding this client alert or natural disaster preparedness in general, please contact your labor and employment counsel at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.