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Severe Weather Policies: A Q&A

November 14, 2012

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

By Eric Brown  

As Hurricane Sandy tore through the east coast flooding streets, burning homes and knocking out power, many companies were forced to shut down their operations.

As HR professionals know, a seamless pre- and post-weather shutdown must spring from a good Severe Weather Policy.  Here are a few questions and answers you will find useful if your organization needs to develop a Severe Weather Policy or refine your existing policy. The data comes from ASE’s Severe Weather Policy survey released in 2011:

Question: How is a Severe Weather Policy communicated to employees?

Answer: The majority of companies take two routes.  One is communicating it in the Employee Handbook (60.3 percent); the other is by an announcement (65.4 percent). Note that the question gave respondents the option to report all the methods utilized. That being said, companies tend to do both options in conjunction with one another.

Question: How are employees notified of decisions relevant to severe weather?

Answer: The best method is the telephone. The top choice was calling employees at home (21.6 percent) with an emergency off-site telephone number (18.9 percent) ranking third.  Which option came in second?  No current procedure (20.9 percent).

Question: How are non-exempt employees paid in the event of a cancelled workday?

Answer: If you are looking to be competitive, which is also being generous, 50.7 percent responded with regular pay for the day.  Less generous?  Vacation or personal absence time was the response of 20.3 percent.

Question: Are non-exempt employees who arrive late on a non-cancelled workday docked for time missed?

Answer: Looks like generous goes out the door if work is not cancelled.  A slight majority (50.3 percent) dock employees, while 49.7 percent do not.

Members of SBAM can contact ASE for samples of Severe Weather Policy examples and assistance creating an employee handbook.

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