Last year the UK was hit by ‘the Beast from the East’ which caused unseasonably snowy and generally untraversable conditions. Unfortunately, these colder winters appear no longer to be a rarity for the UK, with the possibility of the UK facing a ‘deep Siberian freeze’ over the coming weeks.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR COMPANY AHEAD OF THE BAD WEATHER
For many workplaces, a repeat of the adverse weather experienced last year will result in some employees being unable to make it into work. To address this, HR managers should be considering issuing employees with adverse weather guidance before the first snowflakes start to fall.
Generally, this guidance should include what employees should do if they’re struggling to travel into work (be it on the roads or public transport) and who to contact or whether working from home or flexibly would be an option. These policies should be well-publicised ahead of any expected bad weather and easily available to read.
HOW DOES IT AFFECT STAFF PAY?
Employees are not automatically entitled to pay unless their contract specifically contains a relevant provision. Conversely, an office closure will entitle staff with contractually guaranteed hours or salary to be paid. However, it would generally be advisable for employers to consider paying staff if they can’t work because of extreme weather conditions. Failing to pay for these missed days can have a real impact on morale and can feel unfair – especially when the reasons behind the no-show are beyond employees’ control.
STAFF WHO ARE PARENTS
Parents have a statutory right to take time off where there is unexpected disruption to the arrangements made to care for a child. If a school closure takes place at short notice, the situation could be deemed an emergency. However, whether leave is paid is at the discretion of the employer.
ABUSING THE SYSTEM
With worsening weather conditions, it’s possible that you will see a small minority of employees trying to take advantage of the situation by claiming they can’t get into work unjustifiably. Good practice for employers would be to remind staff they could be subject to disciplinary action if they are found to be abusing the system. They could also be informed that any extra days off should be taken as holiday- this will usually prompt individuals to come into the office.
PREPARATION IS KEY
As with many situations, having a clear and concise plan in place before the first flakes of snow start falling is the best option. Plan for the worst – office closures and employees struggling to make it in for a couple of days – and any minor disruptions will be easier to cope with.
This article was supplier to TBOS by our preferred legal supplier SA Law for more insights you can visit their website here salaw.com/views-insights