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Debate: Snow day vs. vacation day

Ted Turnasella

Ted Turnasella Credit: Newsday file

UPDATE: Join us for a live chat this Thursday with professor Diane Pfadenhauer, president of Employment Practices Advisors, an employment advisor based in Northport.

Monday certainly was a mess -- for just about anyone trying to get just about any where. As a result, plenty of employers on Long Island closed for the day, with many paying employees anyway who were scheduled to work.

But -- here's where things get messy -- a certain number of employees had already scheduled to take Monday off as vacation time, for many as a chance to grab some family time with the kids being off from school.  

So the question today for them, as well as human resources managers: If their colleagues got a paid snow day, will that somehow carry over to them? Will they still be charged for taking that day as vacation time? Or will they be allowed to carry it over or be compensated in some other way?

Ted Turnasella, above left, principal of West Islip-based Comp-unications, says, based on research and his many years as a compensation expert, he feels the more common scenario for the employer is, in a spirit of fairness, to refrain from charging the person with a vacation day. But, he is quick to say that's a generalization and he expects plenty of exceptions.

Indeed, the subject was "the hot topic of the day," said Patty O'Connell, co-chair of the Hauppauge Industrial Association's human resources committee and vice president of human resources at People's Alliance Federal Credit Union.

Yes, People's Alliance closed Monday, paying employees who were scheduled to work. But those who had taken the day as vacation will not be getting anything extra, she said.

The thinking: the blizzard represented "circumstances we could not control. Those who were scheduled and ready and willing to come in to work on a snow day will get paid for the day, even though we were closed. Those scheduled to take vacation day will get vacation pay. At the end of the day, everyone is whole," getting paid for a 40-hour week. She also likened the scenario to employees in the credit union's Miami office getting paid time off due to a hurricane, which did not carry over to Long Island employees.

Still, Turnasella said this is an interesting scenario and he'll be including a question on inclement weather, workplace closings and pay practices on his next monthly survey of local human resources folks. He promises to let us know the findings, so tune in later next month.

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