The weather conditions have been very bad, begging the question from many employers about how they should deal with this scenario.
It is a good idea for the employer to consider their stance on this situation prior to it happening and we recommend employers draw up a policy to help communicate their position to staff.
The policy should include:
- Whether or not the employer will pay staff for a day where the employee is unable to get into the office due to severe weather conditions or a natural disaster. This may depend on whether anything is written within the Contract of Employment. Legally employers are not obliged to pay an employee if they are unable to get into the office and that prevents them from being able to do their job, however an employer should consider the impact this may have on staff when it could be due to circumstances beyond their control.
- Employers may wish to consider other ways in which the employee could continue to work in this situation i.e. working from home although they need to be careful if the contract does not require them to work elsewhere.
- Employers could consider giving employees the option to take the day as annual leave so they don’t miss out on a day’s pay. However, the employer would not be able to force the employee to take annual leave, unless they provided the relevant statutory notice to do so.
- Where employees have responsibility to care for a dependent and their childcare arrangements fall through due to school/nursery closure etc. the employee has a right to unpaid leave to make alternative arrangements where possible.
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