Q&A From the Hotline: Power Outages and Pay

From: Staffing

Q&A From the Hotline: Power Outages and Pay


If the company has no power and sends employees home for the day, how do we pay employees? And does it matter if the employee is exempt or nonexempt?


In general, there are two sets of rules for paying employees depending upon their classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as it relates to eligibility for overtime.

With non-exempt employees (those eligible for overtime pay), there is no obligation under federal law or state law to pay for time not worked. However, under certain state laws, employers may have an obligation to compensate nonexempt employees under call-in/reporting pay laws, especially if the employees were not advised that they should not report to work and were denied work upon arrival at the workplace. These pay obligations vary by state. For example, New York employers are required to pay full-time nonexempt employees reporting to work for at least 4 hours’ pay or, if the scheduled shift is shorter than 4 hours, wages for the number of hours in the shift. In New Jersey, non-exempt employees who report to work must be paid for the hours they work and at least one hour at the applicable wage rate whether or not work is performed.

With respect to salaried exempt employees who must be paid on a “salary basis” under the FLSA, employers may not make salary deductions for absences that result from an employer’s partial-week closing of operations, including closings due to weather-related emergencies or disasters. The bottom line is that exempt employees must be paid their full salary if they perform any work in a workweek and only miss work time due to the employer’s closure of operations. Closures for a full workweek need not be paid if no work is performed.