Work it Out Blog

Adult Snow Days? Should They Be a “Thing”?

Feb 15, 2016

I began this article this morning as I woke to the sound of plow trucks clearing the roads. I wondered, “Just how bad do roads have to be to work from home versus making the treacherous trek to the office?” The question came up again as I passed ambulances and police officers assisting fellow commuters who were unsuccessful in navigating the ice and slush.

Employers should decide how to handle potential snow days in advance in order to protect their business and employees. If employees know the protocol when bad weather arrives, they can plan for school closures and the ever-complicated babysitting schedules. If employees know how they will, or will not be, compensated for employer- versus employee-determined snow days, they can better determine whether to risk the drive to work. Giving up-front policies on snow days and providing notice to employees when an official snow day occurs can boost employee morale, showing employees that the company considers their safety.

Pay requirements for snow days depend on the type of employee and whether the employer or employee decides to hit the snooze on the alarm.

With exempt, salaried employees, an employer is required to pay employees for a bad-weather closure unless the closure lasts for a week, during which the employee did no work. While an employer may require employees to use paid time off or vacation to cover the time, it may not be worth the morale cost.

The Department of Labor issued an opinion that employers can choose to dock a full day’s pay of salaried/exempt employees who decide to take an unofficial snow day (and do no work) during bad weather, unless the reasons relate to sickness or disability too.

Nonexempt, hourly employees are treated differently by law: employers must only pay for hours actually worked. So if an employee is prevented from working because of office closures for bad weather, an employer does not need to pay the employee for that time.

Implementing a snow day policy in your company handbook that gives employees the option to stay home during bad weather could go a long way in protecting your business while also boosting morale. Day Ketterer’s lawyers can help with any employee handbook questions. We can be contacted at 330-455-0173 or

The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for any purpose. This blog is not intended to present an exhaustive summary of all applicable laws, or to take the place of legal advice.  If you have any questions regarding the law, please contact us for assistance.