While the groundhog told us winter would be over by now, we have had some unexpected cold and snowy weather this week. Even though we are moving to warmer weather, it is still good to consider whether you should have an inclement weather policy. During winter months, those policies can help define how your business will approach bad weather or travel conditions and will assist your employees in planning work time. While such a policy can remove some discretion from those managing the office, the clarity provided is often appreciated. There are several considerations for these policies:
- When will the office be closed? Is it tied to a local school decision, certain weather conditions, or other bases?
- Who will communicate to the employees and how will it be done? Will and electronic message or call go out? Will there be a recorded message at a phone number? Will you have a contact chain?
- Who will make the call about closing the business? Do you limit that discretion?
- What does the policy say about those who elect not to come to work even if the office is open?
- What will you do about compensation?
- Do you have multiple locations? If so, will the decision be different in the different locations?
- What consideration do you make for parking lots, sidewalks, and other conditions outside of street conditions?
- Do your employees travel as a part of their duties?
- Will there be any customers or clients that need to be served?
- How have these issues been handled historically?
As with most policies, cookie cutter language does not fit every business. Looking at your particular situation, your location, your workforce, and your type of business will all inform how you structure the policy.
If you use a third-party consumer reporting agency for background, credit, or other checks on employees or job applicants, then keep in mind that there are new forms, effective January 1. The forms were released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. There seems to be an increase in enforcement related to FCRA notices, which is consistent with increased scrutiny promoted through the Obama administration by government agencies of many employment and compliance requirements.