What employers need to know about the bad weather…
We have already had lots of snow and it looks likely that there will be more to come this winter. If last January left you in any doubt as to how disruptive that can be you must have been on holiday or asleep!
Most businesses had no plans in place. We were able to keep working as all our staff have the ability to access our systems from home but that is not possible for all businesses.
As an employee it is your duty to get to work – and therefore an employer is entitled to withhold pay if the employee cannot get in to work. However, employees should not feel pressured into risking their safety to go to work (as I remember being in the storms of the late 80’s), so common sense is advised, and employers will be judged as to how they respond to severe weather conditions.
There is cover for parents if schools are closed – as parents are entitled to take emergency leave to look after dependents – but again the entitlement here is only to unpaid leave.
Businesses can suffer from people “taking the mick” – the best one I have heard this month from a colleague is a girl ringing in saying she would not be able to get into work because she was “too cold”. One of the best ways to combat this is to (after the initial day or two of disruption is suggest people can take further days as holiday. This soon sorts the people who genuinely can’t get in from those who just weren’t trying very hard).
And watch out as businesses could face compensation claims if they fail to grit premises
If a member of staff or the public falls on a slippy surface businesses and / or landlords could fall foul of the law. Make sure you keep documentary evidence to show that you have procedures AND they are being carried out.