Docking pay on a snow-day – is it legal?

It wouldn’t be a real Canadian winter without a super-storm or two and, at some point over the season, it’s very likely you’ll have to call a snow day – but how clued up are you on what you can and can’t do?HRM asked one employment lawyer’s advice.

Do you have an obligation to pay?

Missing a day at work due to the weather is completely out of your employees’ control – but does that mean you have to pay them?

In a nutshell – no.

“You’re not entitled to be paid for time you don’t work,” Richard Johnson, of Kent Employment law, told HRM. So, if your workers don’t make it into the office, employers are perfectly within their rights to withhold a day’s pay.

“It’s similar to sick leave,” explains Johnson. “An employer doesn’t have an obligation to pay for time off – for sickness or for snow days – unless there’s a contractual obligation or policy for doing so.”

Of course employers should be prepared for the possibility of a snow-day and accommodate the time off, said Johnson, but “employees should not expect to be paid for time they’re not working.”

However, Johnson said things can become a little trickier when kids come into play.

continue reading… HRM Canada

by Nicola Middlemiss


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.
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