What happens if you are scheduled to work and a hurricane strikes, or your
office building floods, or the weather prevents you from getting to work?
Are you entitled to be paid when a natural disaster keeps you from putting
in the hours planned?
A lot of that depends on whether you are considered an exempt or a non-exempt employee.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Acts (FLSA) provides certain guidelines
including requiring all workers be paid minimum wage and that non-exempt
workers be paid overtime at a rate of one and one-half their regular hourly
rate of pay for each hour worked in excess of 40 hours in any work week.
If a storm or other natural disaster forces a business to alter it’s
usual schedule, what are your rights as a worker?
If you have questions concerning your take home pay, or any other wage
or hour issue, it is important to consult with a dedicated
Atlanta wage and hour attorney right away.
Generally, if you are a non-exempt worker but you do not work for whatever
reason, the FLSA provides that you don’t have to be paid. This is
generally true even in the event of a natural disaster, and even if you
show up ready to work and you are sent home. On the other hand, if you
are exempt, you are entitled to receive your regular pay, as long as it’s
only a couple of days that you miss work due to the problems related to
the natural disaster. If a business is closed for longer than a week,
then additional considerations may affect both exempt and non-exempt workers’
take home pay.
However, even though in most situations non-exempt workers are not required
by law to be paid when a natural disaster keeps them from working, many
employers may still choose to pay them as a show of good faith. If you
were planning to work and through no fault were prevented from putting
in the hours, many employers will still compensate workers – especially
when a natural disaster strikes.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to check any employment handbook or
policy manual that your company has to determine if your company has set
forth its obligations to workers in the event of closure due to bad weather
or other problems. In some cases, a collective bargaining agreement may
also be in effect detailing situations where non-exempt employees must
be paid that are not covered by the FLSA.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you are a non-exempt first-responder
or otherwise required to put in overtime during a natural disaster or
other weather-related work disruption (you may be the only employee who
can make it in), you must be paid overtime at a rate of one and one-half
times your usual rate of pay for every hour worked in excess of 40 hours
in any work week.
When natural disasters strike, your world may be turned upside down –
including your work-life. It is crucial you continue to be paid for your
work. If you have any pay related questions, please contact an experiencedGeorgia wage and hour attorney at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC to review your situation and help ensure
that you receive all the compensation you deserve.