Bad weather can come in many forms, from earthquakes to hurricanes to floods, and more. These events can wreak havoc on your business, disrupting normal work operations while significantly driving up costs. It is for this reason that it is so important for companies, both large businesses and small startups, to maintain inclement weather policies.
How Do Inclement Weather Policies Work?
A policy for inclement weather is a contingency plan which is used to guide employees in the event of a weather emergency. The policy should include information regarding the closing of offices, how reporting and pay will be affected, and the manner in which employees will be notified.
Guidelines That Should Be Included
Employees should be informed of how they will be paid when offices are closed due to bad weather. They should know if they will be compensated or not compensated, and whether they can use the option of vacation time or PTO. If they will be unpaid then you should inform them of whether the lost time can be made up in the future.
Many of these rules will be geared towards employees who are non-exempt. This is because the Fair Labor Standards Act mandates that exempt employees have to be paid if they carried out any work during a work week, even if offices are closed.
Your policy should be designed around the geographic region in which you are based, and the bad weather that is common to that area. For instance, an office located in San Francisco should have a policy which centers around earthquakes, while an office in New Orleans should have a policy that focuses on hurricanes and floods. The safety of employees and customers must be prioritized above all else.
How To Handle Those Who Abuse The Policy
While most employees will use the bad weather policy in the manner in which it was intended, there will always be some who decide to abuse it shadily. When this occurs, you will want to take action immediately. You should first sit down with offenders and make clear your expectations to them.
If they continue abusing the policy, you will then want to progress to a written or verbal warning and then enact harsher measures (if needed) up to and including termination. Employees who misuse these policies harm the business because they will create a backlog of work that others have to fill, which adversely impacts productivity.
Using Telecommuting To Reduce The Impact Of Bad Weather
Telecommuting may be a viable option for some businesses which are disrupted by bad weather. Organizations that choose to utilize telecommuting should say so in their policies, and should clearly establish the way in which employees can work from home and record the hours they put in. This can minimize the loss of productivity which results from unexpected events. No matter where your business is located, it is likely that it is vulnerable to bad weather in some form. Implementing an inclement weather policy ensures that you’re prepared for it.