Q: Workplace has became unsanitary out of our control, foreseeable closure until fixed. Wages owed?
Non-exempt, food service worker. I work in a cafe, where food and drinks are served to our customers, hosted on the first/ground floor of a mall. Recently, there was a leakage that started leaking from the second floor to our store, contaminating our food. Our manager still wants us to open in these conditions, although it's unsanitary and unsafe for the customer as well. My coworkers and I assume the store will be soon closed down until the leak is fixed. However with an unexpected closure, and scheduled to work if there is a closure, are we owed wages for the time we are missed? Are we owed any wages for closing down shop early due to store closure for unsanitary conditions that were out of our control? We've already asked the mall to investigate and repair the leaks, but we are unsure when it'll be finished, and the store is still currently open with modifications (but currently with unsanitary conditions out of our control).
A: Your employer has no legal duty to pay you for hours you do not work, even if it is beyond your control that you lose your hours. Your only recourse is to file for unemployment insurance as soon as you are able. You do not have to be fired or quit to get unemployment insurance benefits. A closure caused by other circumstances would still qualify you for benefits.
Good luck to you.
Brad S Kane agrees with this answer
A: If your work closes unexpectedly, you are entitled to reporting time pay for the day equal to 1/2 your scheduled shirt. Otherwise, you are not entitled to pay from your employer during the shutdown, unless you have accrued vacation that you can use. Finally, you can and should apply for unemployment benefits for the duration of the shutdown.
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