If you haven’t been hit by the the winter storms striking areas across the United States this year, consider yourself lucky. From power outages, to transportation and building maintenance issues, recent winter storms have had a negative impact on businesses across the nation.
There are ways you can protect your business and your employees by making sure you have inclement weather policies in place.
Tips on creating a better inclement weather policy for your business:
- Compare with others in your industry. Use networking resources such as your local SHRM chapter to see how others in your area deal with inclement weather.
- Consider OSHA guidelines. You could be putting your business at risk if you attempt to open and your work environment is unsafe due to temperatures, ice or dangerous sidewalks and entryways.
- Consider federal and state laws. There are limitations and laws on how time off is recorded due to inclement weather. Employee pay depends on many factors, including the type of employee (exempt or nonexempt) and whether the time is paid or unpaid leave.
- Include telecommuting options if it is feasible for your business. By having the ability to telecommute, you can ensure that business can still move forward and productive time is not lost. If this is a possibility for your business, make sure every employee that is able to work away from the office is given the means to do so and understands expectations.
What you need to include in your inclement weather policy:
- Define what constitutes an inclement weather day.
- Discuss pay for each employee type.
- Clearly define how time-off will be recorded (as Paid or Unpaid Time off, as a vacation day or company snow day, etc)
- How will work responsibilities be covered during or after the event?
- How and when will your employees be contacted?
- What to do if office is open but an employee is not able to physically make it in to work due to weather.
- Outline expectations and policies for delayed openings or early closures. Be sure to consider employee commutes and requests made by transportation departments.
- If telecommuting is an option, clearly define tasks and expectations.