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Weather issues and business closures often lead to questions about paying employees.  Here are some of the most frequent questions received by Technical Assistance for Employers.
Q. Last week we sent employees home four hours early due to weather conditions.  Are we required to pay employees for this early closure?

A. The answer will depend on the employee’s status.  Non-exempt employees are entitled to pay only for hours worked.  Your company policy will determine if the employee may use available paid leave.  A non-exempt employee who has no leave is not entitled to pay for the early closure.  (If there is a collective bargaining agreement in your workplace please review the contract language on whether a bargaining unit employee is entitled to be paid for being sent home early.)
An exempt employee must be paid for the entire day if any portion of the day is worked.  It does not violate the exempt employee status to require the employee to use paid leave to cover the missed work hours.  However, if the exempt employee has no leave, the employee is still required to be paid for the day.
Note that inclement weather or absences due to school closures are not covered leave events under Oregon Sick Time. 
Q. What about full day closures?  We closed the office two days last week due to the weather.

A. Non-exempt employees may use available paid leave to cover the absences if consistent with company policy.  If no leave is available, the employee is not entitled to pay for the day.
Exempt employees must generally be paid for the entire workweek if any work is performed during the week.  This means exempt employees must be paid for business closures of less than a full work week.  The employer may deduct from the paid leave bank for the full day absence; however, an exempt employee with no leave must still be paid for the entire day.
For a list of permissible salary reductions for exempt employees, see our Fact Sheet at http://www.oregon.gov/boli/TA/pages/t_faq_taclass.aspx
Q. Some of our employees want to use Oregon Sick Time to cover absences due to school closures.  Do we have to permit this?

A. No. School closures are not covered leave events under Oregon Sick Time. 
Q. Our policy does not address leave usage for inclement weather.  Do we need to permit employees to use leave for time missed due to the weather?

A. If your business requires employees to use leave for business closures, you should have a written policy in place to inform employees of this requirement. Policies should be applied fairly and consistently to avoid any potential discriminatory claims from employees.
Updated January 2017
Nothing on this website is intended as legal advice.  Any responses to specific questions are based on the facts as we understand them, and not intended to apply to any other situations.  This communication is not an agency order.  If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.  We attempt to update the information on this website as soon as practicable following changes or developments in the laws and rules affecting Oregon employers, but we make no warranties or representations, express or implied, about whether the information provided is current.  We urge you to check the applicable statutes and administrative rules yourself and to consult with legal counsel prior to taking action that may invoke employee rights or employer responsibilities or omitting to act when required by law to act.