Paul DeCamp Quoted in “Inclement Weather Policy Should Factor in Safety, Pay”

SHRM.org

Paul DeCamp, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC office, was quoted in SHRM.org, in “Inclement Weather Policy Should Factor in Safety, Pay,” by Allen Smith.

Following is an excerpt:

An inclement weather policy has two dimensions: The first and most important is employee safety; the second is pay.

“Employers should give serious thought to allowing employees to stay home on days when there is a significantly elevated risk of a traffic accident, as no employer wants to see an injury or fatality occur because an employee felt obligated to come to work even though the roads were not safe,” noted Paul DeCamp, an attorney with Epstein, Becker & Green in Washington, D.C., and former administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. …

A related consideration is whether to make attendance optional for some or all employees, as well as when to discipline an employee who fails to report to work after being told to come in, DeCamp said.

“It is important for an employer to use common sense in these circumstances, based on a realistic assessment of the hazards an employee would have faced in getting to or from work,” he observed. “It is not usually worthwhile in the long run to come down hard on an employee for refusing to drive on icy roads, or during heavy snowfall with limited visibility and reports of numerous traffic accidents, or when there are severe service disruptions on public transportation.” ...

For nonexempt employees working remotely during bad weather, it may be necessary to implement makeshift timekeeping protocols when workers can't punch in to ensure accurate recording and payment, DeCamp said. Such temporary timekeeping practices might be as simple as having the employee record the time when work starts and stops in a notebook. ...

Employers often look for ways for exempt employees to work remotely during inclement weather, as the employer is paying them for the workweek anyway, DeCamp said. That said, some jobs lend themselves to remote work better than others, he added.