Does a company have the right to garnish wages if their place of employment closed during hurricane Irma?

I work for a career college that closed 4 days for hurricane Irma. Salaried employees were all paid as scheduled. On October 20th salaried employees were all asked to make up the time missed, submit PTO for time missed or pay back the company for wages paid for their 4 day closure.

Asked on October 21, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A salaried employee is not entitled to be paid for wages for time that they do not work, even if it is due to a weather related closing. According, their employer is legally entitled to be reimbursed for any wages paid for such time be it due to an administrative error or the inablity to change wages at the last minute, etc. Essentially this would constitute "unjust enrichment" which the law disfavors. So while seemingly unfair from a worker's pot of view, such a salary recapture is legal.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can recapture wages which you were not supposed to be paid in the first place, but were paid either due to an error or because payroll could not be changed on such notice. Salaried employees are not entitled to pay for any days they do no work, including due to a weather-related closure. When you do not work an entire day, then even as a salaried employee, you are not entitled to pay. The law is clear that when you are paid in error, the employer may recover the money; a mistake or error does not entitle you to keep the money. So if you were paid in error (e.g. due to payroll not being able to be changed in time), the employer may seek to get the money back.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.