Adverse Weather, what is fair when staff can’t get to work

Posted by on November 23, 2016

So you have woken up on a work day to find 3 foot of snow on the ground outside, how do you get to work?  This will have a big effect on the road networks, public transport provisions and education providers, some or all of which can cause problems when trying to make it into work.  Here is our guide to planning for a big frost.

PLANNING

Plan your journey, if possible Walk!

The roads are usually the worst affected areas and the route of the main problem if we have a downpour of the white stuff!  Don the wellington boots, wrap up, allow plenty of time and consider how good the exercise is for you.

Alternatives

If walking is not an option, consider alternatives.  Though there maybe delays on the trains, if you usually drive this may still be a quicker and safer option, many people also feel nervous driving in icy conditions and this may be more reassuring.  If you have no other option than to drive, assess your journey, are there any areas you may encounter difficulties, perhaps you may have to consider a different route?  Do you live nearby a work colleague?  Perhaps you can car share, sharing vehicles any time is a good idea to keep road traffic to a minimum.  If you are travelling by car, always ensure you are well prepared, have a blanket, torch, ice scraper, a fully charged mobile phone, warm clothing, water and snacks with you.  Above all, allow PLENTY of time, people have been known to be stranded in cars for up to 15 hours.

 

Childcare arrangements

If you have children, your usual childcare arrangements may be affected.  Schools will invariably have to close if enough teachers can not get there. Arrange a practical contingency plan, ideally with someone local to minimise unnecessary travelling in poor conditions.

IT Access

With technological advances, working from home may be a feasible option.  Can any of your IT software packages be accessed remotely from home?  Ensure any necessary permissions have been granted and tested ahead of time to ensure minimal disruption to your work if your role allows.

 

TIME OFF

If an employee does not get to work due to adverse weather conditions there is no legal requirement for them to be paid.  Generally, it is beneficial for employers to be a little flexible and if it was totally unavoidable for the member of staff to be absent perhaps the time off could be taken as Annual Leave.  This allowance can improve staff morale and subsequently working relationships.  If the absence is due to childcare then in an emergency situation time off should be granted to look after dependants but without pay.

 

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