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Make an Employee Handbook

Resolve company policy questions and protect your business and employees.

Are summer hours good for businesses working remotely?

The answer depends on the nature of the business.

If your business tends to slow down in the summer months, giving your remote employees the chance to work fewer hours without reducing their pay or their standing may boost morale. Since your staff are not on site, it won’t lower your overhead, but it could make your employees more productive when they clock in for work.

One alternative to reducing hours over the summer is to make Fridays meeting-free days.

Can I limit which remote employees may work summer hours?

Remote employees are protected under employment laws just like in-person staff. In general, employers should make the same schedule available to all employees or at least all employees in a similar role. Failure to do so could lead to charges of discrimination at worst and feelings of resentment at best.

That said, you may limit a summer schedule to one category of employee if needed. For instance, if you need your customer-facing employees to be present throughout the summer, but you do not need your other employees as regularly, you may be able to give the latter group a flexible schedule. Just make sure that your policies are clear in your employee handbook, and ask a lawyer for advice before making this type of policy.

Do I have to pay full salary during summer hours?

The answer to this question depends on the way wages are paid, the structure of the summer hours schedule, and your employment contracts. For salaried employees not on an hourly wage, summer hours would have no impact. For hourly employees, fewer hours may lead to lower paychecks. 

Some businesses, however, will structure summer hours so that employees work longer hours but increase the number of days away from the workplace. In this case, the pay would be the same except when or if certain overtime requirements apply.

How many hours can I cut before workers are eligible for unemployment?

Unemployment laws provide payments to employees who lose their jobs or have their hours reduced. The number of hours you can cut before your workers become eligible for unemployment varies by state. You may need to check your state’s laws to ensure you don’t cut hours too far and risk having your employees eligible to claim unemployment. 

It is also important to seek feedback from your employees if employee retention is a priority, as workers who need the hours may find new employment elsewhere.

How do I craft a summer hours policy for my Employee Handbook?

If summer hours are something you want to implement, craft a clear policy for your Employee Handbook. This will help your employees know what to expect. Here are some provisions to consider for this policy:

  • Whether summer hours are mandatory
  • How summer hours impact pay
  • Employee eligibility for summer hours
  • Procedures for updates and changes to summer hours
  • How summer hours affect work-from-home policies

A written policy incorporated into the employee handbook will provide important legal protection as you adopt this schedule.

As you consider summer hours for your business, connect with a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney or try the Rocket Lawyer Mobile App to get answers to your questions.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.


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