Can companies make you come into work on bad weather days?

Crash due to ice on I-35 northbound at Sixth Street on Jan. 16, 2018. (TxDOT)
Crash due to ice on I-35 northbound at Sixth Street on Jan. 16, 2018. (TxDOT)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With icy weather sweeping through the Austin area Tuesday morning, several businesses, city offices and schools decided to close for the day.

Still, some employees made their usual morning commute, causing a handful of accidents in the area. Others residents are wondering if they are required to go to work if their employer asks them to.

The Texas Workforce Commission offers a look at what employees and employers should know when bad weather hits.

  • Regarding work absences, if an employee is absent because a business is closed due to bad weather, it should not count towards their overall absence limit for the business. However, if a business is open and other employees are able to make it to work, an elective absence could count toward that businesses absence limit should an employee who decide to skip work and stay at home due to bad weather.
  • If area roads are closed and travel is not recommended, failure to come into work likely won’t be considered disqualifying misconduct in an unemployment claim. Ultimately, it would be up to the employer to prove that the employee could come to work despite bad weather.
  • Hourly and day-rate employees should, respectively, be paid for the number of hours and days they work on bad weather days.
  • Salary employees could have their paid leave docked, if it’s in line with company policy, should they miss work due to bad weather. However, salary cannot be docked in increments less than a full workweek at a time due to bad weather. If that type of pay reduction occurs, there must be a wage deduction authorization agreement in place.
  • Some companies might have a built-in option allowing for regular pay for bad weather days so leave doesn’t have to be used when there is inclement weather.

Ultimately, companies are encouraged to have an inclement weather policy so their employees are aware of protocol during situations like Tuesday’s icy conditions.

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