Florida employers: Wage and Hour Considerations and Hurricane Irma


Just as Texas begins its slow recovery from Hurricane Harvey, Florida braces for Hurricane Irma.  So, we must, again, look at wage and hour rules:

  1. As a result of the FLSA’s salary basis requirement, if as a result of the hurricane, you close for less than a full work week, you must pay an exempt employee for days that you are closed.  However, you generally can require that an exempt employee use PTO during a day in which you close.
  2. If you remain open and an exempt employee does not come to work, you do not have to pay the employee for the day; this can be treated as an absence for personal reasons, provided it is a full day.  If an exempt employee arrives late or leaves early, he or she must be paid for the full day, but you generally can require that he or she use PTO, if available, to cover the non-working time.  You also must pay him or her if he or she does any work from home.
  3. There is no legal obligation under the FLSA to pay non-exempt employees who do not work because you close due to the hurricane; however, there is an exception for non-exempt employees who are paid under the fluctuating work week.  Under the FLSA, they must be paid if you close due to the hurricane for less than full work week and they do any work in the work week, whether it be few or many.
  4. Even if there is no duty to pay non-exempt employees, consider the employee relations message of paying exempt but not paying non-exempt employees for a day on which you are closed.
  5. Also, if non-exempt employee works at home, you must pay for all time worked.  Systems must be put in place to state who can work remotely and how they must record their time so that they are properly paid.  Remember, break rules apply to working at home too.
  6. Keep in mind also that there may be payment obligations under collective bargaining agreements and/or your policies.
  7. Thankfully we all know that no employee should be told to put themselves at risk to come to work.  Just in case there is a manager who does not know this, you should make sure they do.  Thoughts and prayers to our colleagues and their workers in Florida and its surrounding areas.






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Due to hurricane Irm the assisted living facility that I cook at had to be evacuated on sat. Sept 9 and returned on monday 11. During that time i cooked 3 meals daily. Moved our whole kitchen to the church we evacuated to ..then on monday packed up everything moved back to our facility. It was constant hard labor with anywhere from 3-5 hrs sleep a night. My question is I spent 56 hours from sat am until monday 5pm at the church. How should i be paid? For all hours I was there or deduction for sleep and breaks?

Hello, I work on a Private preschool. The school closed five days due to hurricane irma and lost of power. The school still received tuition from the parents those days. Should us the teachers get pay by law those five days? Please help me with this information or which number I can contact. Thank you!

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