California law allows that whenever there is a threat to public safety or health created by dangers such as fires, explosions, accidents, storms, floods, or other disasters, authorized personnel may close the area where the danger exists, and people who willingly enter or refuse to leave the area are guilty of a misdemeanor (CA Penal Code 409.5(c)).
If a facility closes under a shutdown recommended by civil authorities due to national or local emergencies, forced evacuations, failure of utilities, threats to employees or property, quarantines, or other causes beyond the employer's control, special pay rules apply. If nonexempt workers are sent home, they only must be paid for the hours they worked before being dismissed if company operations cannot continue, public utilities fail, or the work interruption was beyond the employer's control.
If a company decides to send employees home because of an emergency after they have reported to work, but before they have put in a half-day's work, California's reporting time pay rules come into effect.
Exempt employees. Exempt employees must be paid for the day if they work any part of the day.
Nonexempt employees. Under these rules, employees must be paid for at least one-half of their usual or scheduled day's work, but for no less than 2 hours or more than 4 hours, at their regular rate of pay.
If employees are given the choice of whether to stay at work or go home, they have to be paid only for hours actually worked. If employees are required to stay at work, they must be paid for all the time they are required to remain in the workplace even if no work is actually performed.
If employees are reached at home ...