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With South Florida bracing for Hurricane Matthew, it is important for employers to know what obligations are owed to their employees. Although each of these issues often requires a more detailed analysis, there are a few guidelines to consider:

FLSA Obligations

  • Exempt Employees – Business is Closed due to Hurricane Matthew – For exempt employees, an employer is obligated to pay the employee’s full salary for any week in which any work was performed.
  • Exempt employees – Business is Open – Where the business remains open after the hurricane, but an exempt employee stays home, the employer may deduct accrued leave or, if such leave has been exhausted, a full day’s salary for each day that the employee fails to report to work.
  • Non-Exempt Employees – Since the FLSA only requires employers to pay non-exempt employees for hours actually worked, an employer is not required to pay non-exempt employees if the employer is unable to provide work. However, some exceptions exist. For example, there may be a collective bargaining agreement in place or an employment agreement. Some states also have “reporting time” pay obligations.

FMLA Obligations

The FMLA does not require that employees be given time off to attend to matters unrelated to a “serious health condition.” Making home repairs or buying supplies will generally not qualify for FMLA leave. However, FMLA leave is appropriate when (1) the employee suffers an illness or injury that meets the definition of a “serious health condition”; or (2) the employee is required to care for a spouse, parent or child with a “serious health condition.”

When leave is requested, the employer should immediately determine whether the employee needs to provide additional information to support the request (including but not limited to, medical certification). Where there is “reason to doubt the validity of a medical certification” provided, the employer may seek a second opinion from another health care provider.

If you have any questions about your obligations to employees, please do not hesitate to contact us – Storrings Law is here to help. Stay safe everyone!