As Boulder attorneys, we know firsthand that the Boulder Flood brought many troubles to local Boulder businesses. Many Boulder businesses have been forced to shut down for a few days or even longer. What that means for many employees is unscheduled time off. So, the question is, does an employer have to pay its employees for “forced time off” due to the Boulder flood?
The answer depends on what type of employee we’re talking about.
First, it is important to know whether your employee is “nonexempt” or “exempt.” It’s an employer’s responsibility to determine whether to classify an employee as exempt or nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The key consideration: Exempt workers aren’t eligible for overtime pay. Rather, they’re paid for the job they do, not the hours they keep.
Once you understand into what classification the employee fits, the following generally applies.
The FLSA requires employers to pay nonexempt employees only for the hours they have actually worked. So, if the employer was unable to provide work, due to closure for instance, that employer would not be required to pay the nonexempt employee for hours that employee would have worked.
An employer will be required to pay an exempt employee’s full salary even if the workplace is closed due to natural disaster if that employee works at any point during the workweek. If the exempt employee does not work at all during the particular workweek, the employer generally will not need to pay their salary for that workweek.
What happens when an exempt employee decides to stay home because of the weather? Well, the US Department of Labor considers absence due to transportation issues to be absence for personal reasons – and an employer may place the employee on leave without pay or require said employee to use vacation time. Just be sure to understand the classification of employee and the surrounding circumstances before you make a decision not to pay that employee.
Your next question will probably be “does my insurance cover this?” – it may. We previously wrote about business insurance. It is also very important to read and understand your insurance policies to determine whether coverage is available.
The Boulder attorneys of LaszloLaw counsel individuals and businesses on a variety of legal needs, including risk management, business formation, and civil litigation. Contact our Boulder lawyers today to discuss your individual or business needs.