It's normally snow that causes disruption for employees commuting into work, but some of the winter storms that hit Britain cause havoc to the roads and public transport. To ensure you are prepared for the weather that is forecast over the coming winter months, here are our tips for managing employing attendance during adverse weather.
- Communicate the calling in process to all employees, in the event that they are unable to travel to work.
- Request that employees review the situation on an ongoing hour by hour basis. If travel is not possible first thing it should be assessed throughout the day, as often there are improvements in the road networks and public transport as the day progresses. In return, the Company must monitor weather conditions to allow to employees to avoid treacherous travel conditions on their journey home.
- Consider if any employees are able to work from home, or another temporary location. If so, meet and agree work that can be undertaken from home in advance.
- Express that if an employee’s usual method of transport is available and it is safe to do so, then every effort should be made to attend work. As an employer you should be careful not to pressurize employees to use alternative methods of transport if it is not safe to do so.
- Reiterate the pay arrangements for anyone not able to attend work. As an employer you should consider the following options:
- Time off is unpaid
- Time off is unpaid if taken as dependent leave i.e. to care for children, grandchildren or a partner
- Time off is paid but the employees need to make up the hours not worked at a later date
- Time off is paid but only if taken as annual leave
- If an employee cannot make it to work due to childcare disruptions, they are entitled to statutory protection. Their time off should be unpaid, however the Company may use its discretion not to withhold pay. It is important as a Company that you are consistent in your approach to pay employees with and without children.
- If an employee chooses not to come to work, when they were able to do so, this could be considered a disciplinary matter. However, it is unlikely that as a Company you will want to investigate each employee suspected of taking a 'snow day'. This is a further opportunity to reiterate the pay arrangements.
- If the workplace is forced to close due to weather conditions and there is no work available, you cannot withhold an employee’s pay unless they have a ‘lay off’ clause in their contract of employment.
There are complicated rules surrounding lay off clauses so professional advice should be sought.
- Most importantly, thank all staff for their commitment and hard work—especially for making their way into the workplace and covering for absent colleagues.