February 2015

Q&A: Paying noncontract employees during emergency closures

Q: Can a district pay noncontract employees when it is closed for an emergency?
 
A: Yes, the district may pay noncontract employees when schools are closed as a result of bad weather or other disasters. However, the requirements are different for nonexempt and exempt employees.
 
Nonexempt employees: Although it is not required to do so, the district may choose to pay nonexempt employees as long as it is has adopted a policy in advance of the closure or the district takes steps to establish that paying them serves a public purpose and ensures that the district receives a return benefit.
 
If the district does not have a policy in place that provides for payment, it may adopt a resolution or take similar action that addresses all of the following:
  • The public purpose served by continuing wage payments (e.g., increased morale and reduced employee turnover)
  • Which employees will be paid
  • Whether the employees who were required to work will receive premium payments
  • The duration of the pay
Policy Update 102, scheduled to be sent to districts in May, will include revisions to DEA (LOCAL) that provide for payments during closures.
 
Exempt employees: If exempt employees work any part of a workweek, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates that they be paid their full salary for that entire workweek. If the district is closed for the whole workweek and the employee performs no work, the FLSA does not require that the employee be paid.
 
TASB Legal Services eSource offers more detailed information on this topic in Personnel Issues During School Closings.