News & Articles

Snow Day! Should you Pay?

Published on February 7, 2019

With frosty days recently shutting down many local businesses, you may be wondering if you have to pay your employees if you close your place of business due to snow or other inclement weather.

The first step is to review your internal policies and any employment contracts you may have with your employees.  Make sure you are following your internal policies, your employee handbook and employment contracts.

If you haven’t promised employees payment on snow days, then you are not required to pay your hourly employees if you are closed due to snow and they are instructed not to come to work.  For hourly employees, the law requires that they be paid if they are authorized or required to be on duty.  They do not have to be paid if you do not authorize or require them to work.

Exempt salaried employees should be paid their regular salary if you close the workplace for a few days due to weather.

Caveat: If your business is a food or retail establishment in Seattle and you employ more than 500 people worldwide, you may need to pay your hourly workers if you close due to a snow day under Seattle’s Secure Scheduling ordinance.


This is a frequent concern this time of year. If you have questions about your obligations to your employees, either on snow days or otherwise, please contact Hana Kern or any member of Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland’s Employment Rights, Benefits & Labor group.

Hana Kern is an attorney in Ryan Swanson’s Employment, Rights & Benefits Group and can be reached at [email protected].

This message has been created by the Employment Rights, Benefits & Labor Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC to advise of recent developments in the law. Because each situation is different, this information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances. Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC is a full-service law firm located in Seattle, Washington.

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