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Are You Ready For The Winter Weather?

February is normally the coldest month of the year and the outlook for 2019 suggests even colder weather than usual may be coming our way. A blanket of snow and ice-covered roads brings many HR challenges to businesses and employees alike.

During the winter months, what should company bosses do when their employees can’t get to work due to weather? Do they have to pay staff if they can’t get to work? What if employees are able to get in to work but need time off to care for dependents?

There is no obligation to pay staff if they can’t physically get to work. It is unauthorised absence. However, the employment contracts must be clear about deductions from staff wages. Companies will need to treat all employees consistently to avoid the risk of discrimination claims.

Further, if the premises are closed, in the vast majority of cases the employees must be paid! Also, remember the obligation to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees. A recipe for confusion and expensive and time-consuming claims….

I appreciate that policies are not always to everyone’s liking, but a well written policy would set clear ground rules and reduce the scope for confusion. It may only be used on a few occasions each year, but well communicated clarification in advance of any disruption would be helpful to everyone.

Indeed, the policy can be open ended enough to include disruptions caused by anything from natural disasters and severe weather to public transport strikes and terrorist attacks. A ‘Disruption Policy’ may be more suitable.

I believe that a degree of leniency and common sense would improve the culture of the organisation if backed up by a Disruption Policy.  Coppice HR offers assistance and solutions to this issue. Contact Paul at paul@coppicehr.com or 07814 008478 to discuss further, before the weather gets too cold and it gets ‘frosty’ in your workplace.

Inspired by: BBC Weather Outlook



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