In order to answer that question we must first distinguish between exempt and non-exempt employees. Many employers incorrectly believe that all salaried employees are exempt or that by paying an employee a salary, they automatically become exempt. This in not accurate. In fact, exempt and nonexempt status has little to do with job titles and whether an employee is salaried or receives an hourly wage (although in practice, hourly workers are never "exempt"). The legal definition of "exempt" and "nonexempt" has much more to do with an employee's level of responsibility or his or her status as a professional. In general, administrators, managers, directors, and supervisors are considered exempt employees. For a comprehensive explanation of exempt vs. non-exempt employees please click here.
According to the DOL, if an exempt employee performs any work during the work week, he or she must be paid their full, normal salary. So therefore, if an employer closes because of inclement weather such as rain, snow, or other emergencies, and the employee has worked that week, he or she must be paid his normal salary. Additionally, if the employer decides to close part way through the day due to worsening and/or a state of emergency he must pay exempt employees their full salary.
If the exempt employee chooses to take the time off during a rain day, snow day, or other emergency, and the employer is open for business, the employer may require the use of vacation time, paid time off or other accrued paid leave. If the exempt employee is not yet eligible to use accrued paid leave, the employer may take a deduction from his or her salary for a whole day of work missed.
The rules are different for nonexempt, or hourly paid, employees. Generally, if a nonexempt employee does not come to work for whatever reason, the employer does not need to pay him or her. If the employer closes the business for a day due to a rain day, snow day or other emergencies, the employer does not have to pay the nonexempt employees.
However, if an employer closes the company part way through a day, he does have to pay for hours worked. In some states, an employer must pay employees a minimum number of hours if they have reported for work.
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