Lots of folks may dream of a white Christmas, but healthcare employers often struggle with handling weather-related disruptions, such as snow days in the workplace. Even in a hospital, some departments or free-standing satellite facilities must deal with such events. Healthcare employers should therefore implement policies addressing inclement weather, including how employees can find out how a facility's schedule may be changed and what they should do if the facility is open, but they are unable to make it to work due to the weather.
These issues are tricky, as healthcare entities must provide continuity of care, while ensuring that employees are not taking unnecessary risks in commuting to work. In addition to dealing with scheduling and commuting issues, facilities must also ensure that employees are paid properly.
The Legal Standards Involved
When reviewing your policy, your first concern should be to ensure that it makes sense for your organization. Second, make sure that the policy explains what occurs when employees wake up in a winter wonderland (or face flooding, storm damage, or some other natural disaster). In handling these scenarios, companies must comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Employees are treated differently under the FLSA, depending on whether they are classified as non-exempt or exempt. Briefly, non-exempt employees are those who are entitled to overtime pay. Exempt employees are those who are paid on a salaried basis, and also meet specific legal requirements to be exempt from the overtime pay requirements.
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