Weather Policies in the Private Sector
Does a company have to have an adverse
No. It is up to each individual employer to come up with
its own adverse weather policy. There are no labor laws that
require an employer to have such a policy in effect.
Does an employer have to give employees
opportunities to make up adverse weather time if the company
does have an adverse weather policy?
No. Even if a company has an official adverse weather plan,
there are no labor laws stating that an employer must give its employees
the opportunity to make up time not worked because of bad
weather. It is up to each individual employer to allow its
employees to use vacation time or not, to make up the time
or not, or not pay employees who do not show up for work when
the business is open. Note: There is one exception to an employer
not having to pay an employee who does not report to work–see
(2) in paragraph below.
Does an employer have to pay employees
for time lost during adverse weather?
In most cases, no. An employer does not generally have to
pay its employees for time lost when the business is closed
due to adverse weather. However, there are two exceptions
where the employer does have to pay for such lost time: (1)
minimum wage/overtime pay exempt executive, administrative
or professsional employees who are directed by the employer
not to come to work, but perform some work during the workweek,
and (2) salaried non-exempt employees who are paid a guaranteed
salary for all hours worked in a workweek and then are paid
an additional one-half time for all overtime hours and who
perform any work during the workweek. Note: An employer does not
have to pay any employee who does not perform any work at all in
a workweek for that workweek regardless of the situation or
the employee's employment status.
If my employer does have an adverse
weather policy, what are the employer's obligations?
If an employer does establish an adverse weather condition
policy, then pursuant to N.C.G.S. §95-25.13(2), the employer
must: "Make available to its employees, in writing or through
a posted notice maintained in a place accessible to its employees,
employment practices and policies with regard to promised
wages." The employer must comply with its own adverse weather
policy until such time as the employer changes its policy
in writing, notifies its employees of such changes prior to
the effective date, and does not take away retroactively any
benefits already earned, pursuant to N.C.G.S. §95-25.13(3).
Does my employer have the right to
make me come to work during adverse weather conditions?
Yes. Since an employer does not have
to have an adverse weather policy at all, the employer can
simply inform its employees that they must report to work
whenever the business is open regardless of the weather conditions
or road conditions. With very few employment law exceptions
(discussed below), an employer can make staying at work or
reporting to work during adverse weather a condition of employment.
What if the governor declares a "state
of emergency" and asks everyone to stay off the roads?
It does not matter if state officials have declared a state
of emergency and are advising people to stay off of the roads.
The decision to stay open or to close, for its employees
to remain at work or leave early, or for its employees to
report to work or not during adverse weather conditions,
is entirely up to each individual employer to make on its
How an employer treats its employees during adverse weather
conditions comes under the concept of "employment-at-will".
This means that unless there is a specific law to protect
employees or there is an employment contract providing otherwise,
then an employer may treat its employees as it sees fit, and
the employer can hire or discharge employees at the will of
the employer for any reason or no reason at all.
The most common protected categories are
those that protect an employee's civil rights based on age,
race, sex, religion, national origin, color, disability [including
the Americans with Disability Act (ADA)] or pregnancy. For
questions or information on these protected categories, contact
the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Toll-free number to be connected to closest office: 1-800-669-4000
Toll-free number for EEOC/ADA posters: 1-800-669-3362
Toll-free number for ADA questions: 1-800-949-4232
Web site: http://www.eeoc.gov/
Retaliatory Employment Discrimination
Another protected category comes under the Retaliatory Employment Discrimination
Act (REDA), which is administered by the N.C. Department
of Labor Employment Discrimination Bureau (EDB). REDA protects
against retaliation by an employer when an employee engages in
activities protected under the Occupational Safety and Health
Act (OSHA), the Mine Safety and Health Act, the N.C. Wage
and Hour Act (WHA), and Workers Compensation Act (and work related
injuries), as well as for carrying the sickle cell trait,
use of genetic testing information, participating in the N.C.
National Guard, and participating in the juvenile court system
concerning the employee's child. If you think you have a REDA
complaint, call EDB immediately, as there is a time
limit to file a REDA complaint. Please call NCDOL at (919)
807-2796 (Raleigh-area) or toll-free (N.C. only) 1-800-NC-LABOR
(1-800-625-2267). The call center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Monday through Friday.
Please note that NCDOL does not have any jurisdiction concerning
unemployment compensation for any reason. You need to contact
your local N.C. Employment Security Commission (ESC) office or contact
the central office in Raleigh at (919) 733-3098 for assistance
concerning unemployment compensation. Web site: http://www.ncesc.com/
This is only a labor law explanation of how an employer
may treat its employees during adverse weather conditions.
Consult with a private attorney about what other rights an
employee may have during adverse weather conditions. If you
do not have an attorney or know of one to contact, you may
contact the N.C. Lawyer Referral Service at (919) 677-8574
(Wake County) or toll-free (N.C. only) 1-800-662-7660.
Web site: www.ncbar.org/legal_prof/probono/atj_lrs.asp
If you cannot afford an attorney, you may
be eligible for free legal advice through a Legal Aid Services
office in your area. Contact their central office in Raleigh
at (919) 856-2564 for information on local offices throughout
the state. Web site: http://www.legalaidnc.org/
Please call our call center if you still have
N.C. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Bureau
1101 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1101
(919) 807-2796 or (toll-free N.C. only) 1-800-NC-LABOR (625-2267)
Web site: http://www.nclabor.com/