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EMPLOYER ALERT: Paying Employees During a Power Outage

in News and Features

California residents are without power due to the PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff program. 

  • As a business owner affected by these outages, do you send your employees home? 
  • Will you need to pay them during the outage if you do send them home?
  • What are your options?

You have the option to send employees home.

If you decide to send your employees home, remember that pay requirements differ for exempt and nonexempt workers:

  • Exempt Workers – You must pay exempt workers for a full day on any day they perform any work. Also, for any days where the business is shut down for the entire day, if an exempt employee performed any work during the workweek and is ready, willing, and able to work on the day you shut down, you must pay them for the full day you are shut down.
  • Nonexempt Workers – They are only entitled to be paid for the hours they spend performing work. Reporting time pay requirements for nonexempt employees does not apply even when public utilities fail to supply electricity, water, or gas, or if there is a failure in the public utilities or sewer system.

Keeping Employees Onsite at the Workplace

If you keep your employees on the premises to try and “wait out” the outage—and they do no work—

 you will still need to pay them for the time spent waiting for the power to come back on. While the law allows you to require employees to wait out the outage—but if the outage lasts many hours or days—you may want to consider sending these employees home.

Call Sequoia Personnel Services for HR compliance help!

 If you are still not clear on these pay requirements, or you have other questions concerning labor laws during extreme situations connected to natural disasters, emergencies, or weather-related incidents that affect the workplace, call Sequoia Personnel Services for HR compliance help!

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