Ques­tion: We are a Cal­i­for­nia employ­er. If we noti­fy a nonex­empt employ­ee of a dis­as­ter-relat­ed clo­sure via voice mail, text, or email, and they show up say­ing they nev­er got the mes­sage, do we still owe them the half-day pay?

Answer: The answer depends upon how the com­pa­ny man­ages its noti­fi­ca­tion process. If the com­pa­ny has com­mu­ni­cat­ed to all employ­ees the method that will be used for noti­fy­ing employ­ees of work­place clo­sures, rein­forces that pol­i­cy pri­or to or dur­ing weath­er events, and can ver­i­fy that the mes­sage was sent and received by the employ­ee, then the employ­er would not be liable for the show-up pay.

As a best prac­tice, we rec­om­mend ask­ing employ­ees to respond to the voice­mail, text, or email acknowl­edg­ing that they have received the mes­sage. Oth­er­wise, espe­cial­ly with weath­er emer­gen­cies where pow­er, inter­net, or phone ser­vice may be inter­rupt­ed, the employee’s claims of not get­ting the mes­sage may in fact be true. Con­sult with coun­sel pri­or to deny­ing show-up pay if you can­not prove that the mes­sage was received. Pay­ing the employ­ee a few hours of pay costs far less than respond­ing to a state agency if a wage com­plaint is filed.

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