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Inclement Weather

As inclement weather disrupts workplaces and communities, it’s important to have a plan and clearly communicate your policies to employees.

Here is a checklist to consider when preparing for – or responding to – weather related closure events.

Develop closure policy and procedures.
Who is responsible for making the call to close operations? How will the decision be communicated to employees? How can employees check in advance to avoid braving the elements only to find a closed workplace? Does your policy address the timing of paychecks when weather disrupts operations?

Know the rules on weather-related pay.
In general, employees are entitled to pay for the hours they work, including hours worked from home or an alternate location. Does your policy outline what is paid time and what compensation is available for hours missed because of inclement weather?
Show-up pay: Oregon does not have minimum shift lengths or show-up pay for most non-exempt employees. Special rules exist for minors unless certain notification procedures are followed.
Predictive scheduling: Covered employers (large retail, hospitality or food service employers) are generally not required to pay fifty percent of a cancelled shift if the cancelation is due to a natural disaster or severe weather event, including a snowstorm. OAR 839-026-0000(6).
Substituting paid leave: Employers that offer benefits like vacation or PTO should be clear in their policy if that leave is available to cover business closures or absence due to unsafe travel conditions.
Partial week closures for exempt employees: Employers may not make salary deductions for partial week weather-related closures when an exempt employee is ready and willing to work. Employers may, however, require that the exempt employees use appropriate available leave balances for the missed hours.
Sick time: Although Oregon sick time does not generally cover weather-related closures, when the impact of inclement weather results in a public health emergency declaration, employees may use sick leave for business closures and to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by a public official.
Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA): During a declared public health emergency, OFLA is available to employees of businesses with 25 or more Oregon employees after just 30 days on the job. Among other things, OFLA provides employees with protected time to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by a public official.
Equal pay: If an employer offers weather-related compensation to employees, apply that standard consistently across any particular job category (“work of comparable character”).

Protect employees’ rights to express health and safety concerns.
Employees have the right to bring good faith concerns to you free from retaliation or adverse action. Examples might include concerns over icy sidewalks, inadequate heating or utility failures. Complaints with other regulatory agencies such as Oregon OSHA are also protected, even if an investigation determines no health or safety rule was violated.
Ensure employee safety.
Safey on the job includes being aware of safety hazards and preparing for them. Check out OSHA resources like these on Cold Stress and Winter Weather Preparedness .

Keep employee contact information up-to-date.
It’s important to provide employees with timely information about closures. Make sure that employees know how to get the information they need and you know how to get ahold of them during severe weather events.

Check your CBA.
Employers with collective bargaining agreements may have provisions relating inclement weather leave and work expectations.

Disclaimer: This website is not intended as legal advice. Any responses to specific questions are based on the facts as we understand them and the law that was current when the responses were written. They are not intended to apply to any other situations. This communication is not an agency order. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.​