Downside to Snow Days

Bad news for weather wimps: Your boss doesn't have to pay you if you stay home on snowy days, according to the Labor Department.

A recent letter issued by the department reiterated its long-standing position that employers can deduct a day's pay from workers who stay home when the weather is bad but the workplace is warm and open. Even if your company shuts down, employers can take a day's vacation from you to cover the time, the letter says.

Many companies have warmer policies, however. Half pay their hourly workers for the day if the company decides to close because of bad weather, according to a Society for Human Resources Management survey of 319 HR managers. Twenty percent of companies say they will not pay workers, and 16 percent require them to use a personal or vacation day if snow, ice or hurricanes keep them out.

Companies are more generous to their managerial or exempt employees. The human resources survey found two-thirds of them are paid for snow days and only 5 percent forfeit a day's pay when the weather is at fault.

So maybe the best time to be a boss is when the weather is nasty.

-- Vickie Elmer