Winter Storm Uri rolled through Central Texas last week and created havoc for millions of people. Loss of power and water were bad enough, but having to stay home may have cost employees some of their PTO.

Many employers have told their employees that if they want to get paid for the "time off," they'll need to use vacation, sick, or personal time to do so.

That's the case with my wife. Her employer closed even on days that a lot of other businesses started to reopen later in the week, and yet she still needs to use her PTO to cover those days.

Lots of employers handbooks lay out the plan for bad weather days and state that you'll need to use PTO to cover your days off if you want to get paid for those days.

Still doesn't seem fair, right? What about help from the federal level? Isn't there a program to help those affected receive some kind of administrative pay during emergency weather situations?

My wife's not alone in this either, as employers across the state are doing the same thing. Even if she had been able to get to work, her employer was closed.

According to an article from The Hill, the bigger issue is there there are no strong worker protections in Texas. Austin Kaplan is a employment lawyer in Texas and told The Daily Beast, “There’s no requirement in Texas that people pay any vacation time at all. There’s just no safety net, or anything like that. In my estimation, the state that turned the power grid off ought to be the one paying."

That sounds like a great idea. Whoever was responsible for us losing power should be the ones to cover the cost of lost wages. Seems fair!

I'll confess to not knowing the laws, but isn't there some sort of paycheck protection program? Does that not apply in this case?

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