Snow Day Policies: Fair or Equitable?

The “f” word has no place in the world of work. Human resources professionals will not be effective business partners if they put too much emphasis on what is “fair.”

Yes, we have to be “fair” in a manner to minimize risk and exposure to the organization, but in today’s market, being “fair” can contradict business needs and objectives.

Take for example inclement weather policies. Is it “fair” to ask employees to work from home during inclement weather when the office is closed? What about those employees whose work cannot be performed remotely? Is it “fair” to ask them to take a day of leave instead? Is giving employees who can’t work remotely a free day off, while requiring others who can to work and not take a snow day, considered “fair?”

HR should strive to be equitable, which is different from an across the board concept of “fair” – while synonymous, equity considers reasonableness and takes a more balanced approach to dealing with employees. It does not mean every employee must be treated the same – as Marcus Buckingham wrote in his book “First Break All the Rules,” situational leadership and adapting policies to meet the needs of the business should supersede the desire to be “fair.”

As we all know, life isn’t always fair – nor should it have to be.

For more information regarding this post or how Raffa, P.C. can help your organization, please contact the author Stacy Ganister Johnson, a member of our Human Resources Practice, at or 202-955-6733.

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