Snow-day pay and morality

New York was snowed in again yesterday. The Long Island Railroad operated at about half schedule. Schools were closed, as were many businesses in the metropolitan area. Children rejoiced, but what about workers? That, it seems, upon who they worked for.

Children cheer when school is closed because they are free to play without penalty. But for many workers, there is a penalty for not showing up, even if the place of employment is shut for the day because of bad weather.

A recent survey found that a little over half of the companies pay full-time employees if the business closes due to bad weather. Twenty-three per cent said they don’t pay full-time employees but they allow them to count the day off as a vacation day or a personal day. This means that about 25% of the employers don’t pay their workers or count the day as a sick or personal day even though the doors to the company closed its doors on them.

I can only imagine how part-time workers are treated.

This approach isn’t fair. It seems to me like a school penalizing a student for being absent even though classes were canceled.

There is a difference between a school and a business. A business’s profitability is affected when not open. But it is the employer’s decision to not shut down for the day. That is no reason to burden those who may well have wanted to work but were locked out.

Those companies that provide snow-day pay deserve credit for doing the right thing. Shame on those that don’t.



5 thoughts on “Snow-day pay and morality

  1. I have a small, pediatric practice. We had a major snowstorm this week. I ended up closing that day due to the states recommendation and clearly that it was unsafe for people to be out on the roads. Had I decided to remain open, my staff would not have come in. They had already decided that they would not drive in the weather. So – in addition to the 9 paid holidays per year, 10-15 days of paid personal time per year, a paid daily lunch hour, how much more am I to provide my staff? The snow day was what it was. But I had no patients, so therefore no revenue. Yet I am expected to pay my employees for staying home with their kids? I can’t afford it. My ‘next time’ plan, being incorporated into the office policy – you’ll get paid but you make up the time. An hour early, stay for the lunch hour, an hour later. I had only 2 employees to worry about – I can’t imagine having a larger practice and paying 10-15 people for a snow day. Lets get real – people LIKE to stay home on snow days. And better yet, they like to get paid to do it.

  2. A practice such as yours is one thing. Another is a business that can easily absorb the cost of paying their employees.

    Because there are many business such as yours, it wouldn’t be a good idea to create a law. My point was to have people who make such decisions look to their sense of fairness. Many hourly workers live a marginal economic life; many employees are deciding when to go on their next vacation.

  3. Why do employers feel that they have to make up for lost revenue by taking what they can out of the pockets of their low-paid employees? That’s all they are doing when the dock a person’s pay for a day that the office is closed without warning.

    What even happened to loyalty and mutual respect? I don’t care how small a business, the business owner OWNs the business and the fruits of everyone’s labor go into increasing the value of the business.

    It sounds to me like Dr. Pediatrician believes he is hiring something comparable to day labor, not employees. There are costs to owning ones own business as well as benefits.

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