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Winter Blues

What to do when employee’s are unable to get into work due to bad weather?

As we are in the midst of winter, we wanted to explore the impact of adverse and bad weather on your business and what as an employer you need to be thinking about.

It is normally the responsibility for the employee to ensure that they can get into work and home again, but what happens when the bad weather kicks in and your employee’s can’t get into work?

For a number of roles within an organisation you may be able to ask them to work from home, but as we know not all roles due to their nature are able to be carried out from home or indeed remotely.

If an employee is unable to get into work, it is their responsibility to inform you as their employer of their situation, they can request if their role allows to work from home instead. As an employer you should try to be as flexible as possible with these requests and remember you have a duty of care to the employee for their health and safety; you should not be encouraging employees to travel if it is not safe to do so.

If the employee cannot safely get to work, what should I do?

  • You can allow them to come into work later, if and when the weather improves and it is safe to do so
  • You can allow the employee’s to work their hours flexibly and to make up any time lost on another day
  • You could temporarily adjust any hybrid working arrangements, as an example you could swap their home working and office days to accommodate
  • You could change their duties as a temporary measure
  • You could swap shifts with others who can get to work easier
  • You can offer that the employee takes holiday or unpaid leave

Can I ask the employee to take holiday?

Yes, you can.

What happens if they don’t have any holiday remaining?

You can offer to give them unpaid leave, or you could ask them to make up the time at a later date.

Do I have to pay employee’s who are unable to come to work due to adverse weather and disruption?

If you don’t have any clauses in your contracts of employment with regards to adverse weather payments then you don’t have to pay them, but you do need to ensure that you treat everyone the same and in line with your company policies and procedures.

It can be worth considering to pay employees as this can help improve staff morale and retention but it is not a legal requirement unless it is stipulated in your contracts of employment.

Do we have to pay employee’s if we have to close the premises due to adverse weather conditions?

If the employee’s are ready, willing and able to attend work, however you are unable to open the premises due to the adverse weather conditions, then yes you will need to pay your employees during this time. Remember to keep your employee’s up to date and communicate with them so that they are aware of the closure and when you are able to open the premises once more.

Some employees may be able to work from home, so do bear this in mind, but for those roles that are unable to work from home, you will need to pay them whilst you have made the decision to close the premises.

It is worth considering the recent weather disruptions we encounter, looking at introducing policies that support you and the employees during times of disruption. At ViewHR we can work with you to create adverse weather policies and procedures so that you have a plan in place should the need arise.

To navigate legal challenges and ensure fair practices, get in touch with a member of the ViewHR team. Expert guidance on HR policies and procedures is essential to establish transparent processes, address individual circumstances, and communicate effectively, mitigating the risk of legal complications.