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Employment Policies and Bad Weather

Employment Policies and Bad Weather
16 March 2018
Freezing winds and snow are due to hit parts of the UK again this weekend and the ensuing travel conditions may mean that some employees will be unable to get to work on time, if at all. What impact does adverse weather conditions have on the workforce? Do your employment policies help your employees manage any unplanned absences?

If I can’t get to work due to bad weather will I still be paid?

Employees have no legal entitlement to be paid if they are not at work, even when it’s due to transport delays and is down to no fault of their own. The only exception is where the employer provides the transport or where the travelling itself forms part of the job description.

As an alternative to an unpaid day off work, employers could consider asking workers to take the absent day as part of their annual paid holiday leave entitlement (if they agree) or could allow the employee to make up the hours by working flexibly.

Planning ahead by employees

To avoid disruption and an unpaid day off work, plan ahead if bad weather is forecast. Many forms of transport may be operating on reduced timetables so consider alternative routes and leave plenty of extra time for your journey.

Notify your employer of your absence and communicate

If you know you will not be able to make it to work or you are going to be late you should notify your employer. If your place of employment has an absence policy it will most probably state that failure to notify your employer may result in the absence being recorded as unauthorised and may result in disciplinary action.

The use of laptops and mobile phones can still allow businesses to carry on effectively. Let your employer or colleagues know how your workload can be managed in your absence, especially if there are deadlines to be met.

Flexible Working Policy

Travel disruption is also an opportunity to allow employees more flexibility in the hours they work and to allow them to work from home. Flexible working can improve morale and productivity. Every employee has the statutory right to request flexible working after 26 weeks employment service. Your flexible working terms should be set out in a flexible working policy so that your staff know exactly what is on offer and expected of them.

What if my child can't go to school and I have no childcare arrangements?

All employees, including those on short-term contracts, are entitled to take a reasonable amount of time off work to deal with unexpected or sudden emergencies involving a dependant. Most employers have absence policies with a 'time off for dependants' clause outlining the circumstances in which employees can take time off, and this includes dealing with an unexpected incident involving an employee's child during school hours. Therefore, if schools are closed and you have no childcare arrangements, you are entitled to unpaid time off. This is 'time off for dependants' and, as such, is differentiated from other absences meaning that employees can take as much time off as is reasonable to make alternative childcare arrangements.

This will vary according to individual circumstances and if an employee was dismissed as a result of taking excessive time off, it would be up to an employment tribunal to decide what was 'reasonable'. Again, an employer could offer this as paid holiday entitlement, with the agreement of the employee.

Have employment polices in place

Having the right polices in place can ensure the smooth running of your business and appropriate support for employees affected by absence. At Clickdocs we offer a wide range of affordable, easy-to-use employment policy templates that can help you meet your legal obligations and support your staff. At Clickdocs we offer a wide range of affordable, easy-to-use employment policy templates that can help you meet your legal obligations and support your staff.


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