We run our small nonprofit, as best we can, like a small business. We'd like to know how other entrepreneurs handle the days they have to close for bad weather. Do they let staff work from home to make up hours? Do they pay for snow days? Do they let staff make it up later in the week? Our first snow day here in Cincinnati got the feathers flying and we thought Minnesota, if anyone, would have the answers!

Jason Lee Overbey, Executive Director, BeauVita


According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the industry's largest professional association, there is a wide diversity of practices used by small organizations when closing offices due to inclement weather.

The most frequent practice for exempt and nonexempt employees is the "pay option": pay the employees for the day and not require them to use their own leave time even if local, state or federal offices are not closed (used by 47 percent of companies for nonexempt employees). The next most frequent practice for nonexempt employees is the "no pay option": don't pay the employees but allow them to take the time off without using their own leave time (20 percent of companies). One other option for nonexempt (hourly) employees that is used by 16 percent of companies requires employees to use their own leave time to cover the inclement weather day.

After these big three, there are a large number of practices for nonexempt employees that are unique to one or two companies. Some of these include the following.

• Pay the employees and they are not required to use their own leave time if the local, state or federal government offices are closed.

• Pay employees but they are required to make up the time off.

• Employees receive four hours of pay and they can be paid the balance from their unused vacation.

Finally, numerous companies use the "we never close" option. Employees report to work if possible. If they can't safely travel, they lose a day's vacation, take an unpaid day, or numerous other practices.

About the author

Mick Sheppeck is an associate professor of management at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.