Do I Need to Pay Employees When the Power Goes Out?

I’m running into a weird problem with employees working from home: power and internet outages. California will undoubtedly have rolling blackouts again, plus unexpected outages. My employees do customer service over the phone. They cannot work without power and the internet. Do I have to pay them when the power goes out? Can I make them verify that their internet is out? Can I require them to tether their computers to their phones if their internet goes out

To read my answer, click here; Do I Need to Pay Employees When the Power Goes Out?

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4 thoughts on “Do I Need to Pay Employees When the Power Goes Out?

  1. Since where working for your job today now includes WFH situations, this “blackout situation “ should have already been addressed. I have personally been in a blackout of power situation but in the workplace. Since there’s a clear procedure for in the workplace in case of a blackout, I fail to see why companies failed to set up procedures for their WFH employees.
    The procedures should have clear defined parameters —notation and proof of the blackouts, required amount of time spent in waiting for power to come back, when to stop ready to work status if prolonged blackout situation and how to make up the hours lost—the choice should be an agreeable on both sides as well in deciding to work the hours lost or use PTO since some can only dedicate certain periods of time to work, in other words within labor laws guidelines, so neither party can abuse/misuse work hours definition.

  2. While I don’t work from home, I’ve dealt with power blackouts both at home and at work. I learned the hard way that the emergency generator at work only provides power for about 15 minutes after the power goes out. After that, even the emergency lights go out, leaving us in pitch blackness. Also, the generator power only keeps essential things on, like the overhead lighting. Everything else — our phones, computers, printers, etc. — stops working. If the power goes out at work, and the emergency generators come on, we start shutting everything down and head for the door, where there’s daylight. If the regular power doesn’t come back on within 15 minutes, we go home, and call our bosses to let them know what happened. If it’s early in the day, I’ll use some of my earned leave. If it’s later in the day, I’m paid just as if I worked a full day.

  3. I use “Can I have a beer?” as a metric for whether I should get paid. If my boss would object to me having a beer, it means that my boss considers me at work, and thus I should be getting paid.

    For a blackout, it depends on the situation. If it’s a temporary issue, with folks actively working to fix the problem, I probably should be drinking a cup of coffee or glass of water–I’ll need to be working soon–and thus, I should be paid for standby time. It’s no different from any other situation where I get standby time (a common occurrence for field work). If, on the other hand, the power is out for three days, my boss is not going to object to me having a beer–I can’t work, and I’m not going to be able to work any time soon. I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of PTO banked, so I get an undesired impromptu poorly planned three-day vacation. Last time it happened we spent a lot of time at the park with the kids, who thought it was the best week ever.

    Also: If you find yourself looking at an emergency situation and asking yourself “How can I save money here?” rather than “How can I help my team here?” something has gone sideways. I mean, I get it–I deal with finances, and the higher-ups don’t care about the human cost. But this is part of going to bat for your team. And if your project budget is so tight that an hour or two of downtime kills it, it was probably going to fail anyway; you inadequately planned for contingencies.

  4. It’s been more than two years since the coronavirus has hit the globe. New work regulations had to be implemented and ways of doing remote work have become efficient by developing tools.

    A cloud-based HR and payroll software designed to track the data of employees doing remote work is much more efficient than on-site work.
    You can custom build an HR and payroll software that can take reviews from the employees in events of power outrages and deal with the problem with raw data at hand.
    Check out the website to find out more

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