We haven’t had snow for quite some time down South, but I keep hearing the possibility of snow being mentioned (if you believe the weather forecast!). Lovely if you can just look at it from your window, work from home and don’t need to travel anywhere but what about when this isn’t the case and it impacts on your business and your employees getting to work safely?
Are employees entitled to be paid?
There is no legal right to pay employees if they can’t get into work unless you have any specific arrangements in your contracts or policies that state otherwise.
What options do we have?
- Depending on the job role can any work be done from home?
- Do they want to take holiday? You can’t force them to do so as you’d need to give them notice to take holiday but if they want to this is an option
- They can be unpaid
What if employees are unable to come into work due to childcare issues?
If employees are unable to come into work due to childcare issues as nurseries, schools and colleges being shut they have the right to take a reasonable amount of time off to deal with an emergency situation usually unpaid (unless again you have any specific arrangements in contracts/policies). They will then be expected to decide should the situation carry on how they will deal with this, again any further time off would be unpaid unless you agree to annual leave being used.
What if we close?
If you decide to close and send your employees home, then your employees would be entitled to be paid unless you have specific arrangements laid out in your contracts of employments such as ‘lay offs’. Deducting pay would give you the potential risk of claim for unauthorised deduction of wages and/or breach of contract.
What if we don’t believe the person can’t get into work?
You will need to investigate and use your disciplinary policy. It may be difficult to do this if others are also unable to get into work and you’d need to have reasonable belief that they could have actually got into work.
Continuing to work
If you do still need your employees to work, try to be flexible and think of minimum office temperatures (HSE suggests 16 degrees), later start times and earlier finish times and if employees can’t carry out their role due to the weather then can they carry out alternative duties instead?
Consider having an adverse weather policy which lays the options out.