Let it Snow! Is your Company Prepared for the Winter Season?
New England is heading into the winter season as evidenced by the recent snowfall. In New Hampshire, if you close your facility early and send your employees home because of bad weather, lack of power, heat or water, you must pay your non-exempt employees a minimum of two hours or all hours worked up to the time of the closure, whichever is greater. If a facility is closed for an entire day or more due to severe weather conditions, it is important that there is a written inclement weather policy documented in the Employee Handbook. Employees should be well informed of the policy and know exactly what protocol to follow.
The Adverse Weather Policy in your Employee Handbook should address the following issues:
- Who is responsible for making the decision to close your facility?
- How will employees be notified – by phone, text, e-mail or local radio/TV announcement?
- When will employees be notified (how soon before their shift begins)?
- What is the procedure for employees who travel through an area that has been declared a state of emergency?
- Will both exempt and non-exempt employees be allowed to work from home or be offered other options to make up for the time lost?
- How will employees be compensated for lost wages? Will they have to use their accrued paid time off?
- What actions will take place after the adverse weather is over? Will employees be required to report to work outside of their normal scheduled hours? How will production be scheduled to make up for the missed time?
A few decades ago, a company had two options for notifying employees about a weather-related closure; a telephone tree or a radio/TV announcement. Some companies and professional organizations would use – and still use – school closings as their barometer. If the local school district is closed or is delayed, then the company is closed or delayed.
Now, however, technology has created many more options for communicating a closure, including automated mass e-mails, texts or phone calls. There is a service called dialmycalls.com that will quickly send a mass text message, email or phone call to any group of contacts, for a fee. The company has control over the contact list, the timing of the call and the content. The trick is to make sure employees know where, when and how to expect a message.
For assistance with writing or editing your employee handbook to include an Adverse Weather Policy, please contact the professionals at HR Synergy at (603) 261-2402 we can help you with all your Human Resource needs.