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Ugh…winter weather!

Winter Weather

As the winter nights drawn in, and many of us drive to and from work in the cold and dark, your thoughts may start to turn to the heating bill, those new year resolutions or even next year’s sunny escape; it’s safe to say your employees will most likely be thinking the same.  However, there may well be something else on their mind…….

Snow Days

A reasonably recent concept, snow days are a day on which a school or other workplace is closed due to heavy snowfall or other adverse or extreme winter weather.

More recently though snow days have become a day when children, parents and employees must stay at home because they cannot get to school or work due to adverse or extreme weather conditions.

What are the rules in a snowball, I mean nutshell?

  • If you have closed the workplace due to adverse weather you must pay those employees otherwise ready, willing and available to work.
  • If an employee who usually makes their own way into work, cannot make it in, you are not obliged to pay them. They can take it as unpaid leave or use annual leave to cover the absence.
  • If your business provides transport for an employee and the transport has been cancelled due to poor weather conditions, you are obliged to pay them.

What can you do to mitigate any confusion?

Make sure you have an adverse weather policy or section in your handbook.  Make sure it is clear and concise so that employees know exactly what is expected.  We often find people’s memory disappears at this time of year along with the sunshine, so its always a good exercise to circulate reminders about attendance during bad weather at this time of the year so that employees can familiarise themselves with it and you can remove those ‘I wasn’t aware’ stories.  Be clear about how and when a decision to clear the work place might happen and staff should make all safe attempts, where possible to continue to come to work.

Set clear expectations regarding what the options are, employees should not be made to feel they must risk life and limb to make it into work, but what steps could they take to ensure a level of activity continues?

  • Can staff work from home?
  • What functions can/need to continue during cases of bad weather?
  • Could they come in later when the weather improves?
  • Could they take annual leave to cover the absence?
  • Could they walk into work?
  • Could they plan their work accordingly so they have the equipment they need to work remotely?
  • Could they car share?

Be open about what you expect and what the options are, not everyone can work from home, be upfront about that.

If you need some help with an adverse weather policy or a change to your handbook to tighten this area up for you, please get in touch using the link below.

The Simple Take is: Be clear and consistent with in the way you deal with employees getting into work due to adverse weather conditions.

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