Well, it’s official. Connecticut is under a Blizzard Warning as of Sunday afternoon.
This is, of course, nothing new for employers in the state. We’ve had more than our fair share of big “monster” storms. If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you’ll have read more than your share of blog posts about what to do with your employees when a storm hits.
But here are three issues you may not have thought of recently.
Reporting Time or Minimum Daily Earnings Guaranteed: Connecticut has a “reporting time” obligation (as do several of our neighboring states). It is contained in various regulations and applies to certain industries like the “mercantile trade”. You should already be aware of this law, but it has particular application in storm situations where people may not work full shifts.
For example, in Conn. Regs. 31-62-D2(d) for stores, an employer who requests an employee to report to duty shall compensate that employee for a minimum of 4 hours regardless of whether any actual work ends up getting assigned. So if you bring your employees in on Tuesday only to send them home 30 minutes later, you may be on the hook. For restaurant workers, it is typically a minimum of two hours (Conn. Regs. 31-62-E1)
Takeaway? For certain industries, be sure to know whether you will need to pay employees for a minimum amount of time if you send them home early from their shift.
Wage Agreements: Also be aware of any wage agreements (collective bargaining agreements mainly) that require you to provide employees with a guaranteed minimum number of work hours. Typically, these will need to be followed.
Hours Worked: Be aware of Connecticut’s “hours worked” regulation found in Conn. Regs. 31-60-11. That regulation says that “all time during which an employee is required to be on call for emergency service at a location designated by the employer shall be considered to be working time” regardless of whether the employee is called to work.
When an employee is on call, but is simply required to keep employer informed of whereabouts or until contacted by the employer, working time starts when the employee is notified of his assignment and ends when that employee is finished.
As you contemplate whether to close the office this week, make sure you’ve thought about these issues:
- What are the situations when an office will close?
- How will employee receive notice that an office is closed? Is there a central number that they can call for information? Will an e-mail be sent out? What about text message?
- Will employees be paid for the time when the business is closed?
- Will employees be paid if they don’t report to work due to inclement weather when the business is open?
- Will the employer discipline or discharge and employee for failing to report to work due to weather conditions when the business is open?
As I said before, none of these issues should really be new for an employer in Connecticut. But with this being the first big storm of the season, it’s time to shovel out those policies.
Stay warm and safe the next few days!