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Adverse Weather- Are employees required to be paid?

Every year the UK will go through a period of treacherous and adverse weather and the topic of not being able to get to work is inevitable. Social media goes into melt down with who has the worst weather with images of flooded roads, or snow covered cars. There are issues with public transport, road blockages or school closures. Acas advise that employers should “not force employees to make the journey to work in adverse conditions”. Employees should not put their Health and Safety at risk. Here is our checklist to help you manage this situation.

• What is the legal position?
Employees are not automatically entitled to pay if they are unable to get to work due to adverse weather. Check your contracts- does it say anything about payment? What arrangements have been agreed in the past? If the business has closed the office or informed those to not come into work, they may be entitled to pay depending on the circumstances.

• Pay or not to pay?
Usually it is a balance for employers to think about and very much depends on your business. If you don’t pay, how much of an impact does that have on employee engagement in terms of morale and productivity? Is there anything else that can be done (see below options to consider). Are there contractual lay-off provisions?

• Adopt a flexible and fair approach

Think about the way the situation is handled, be flexible where possible. Think about options for employees to choose when the circumstances arise;
– Working hours- can the lost hours be made up at another time?
– Can employees work from home?
– Can they work at a different location?
– Is there an option to use annual leave?
Acas advise that it is important to “maintain good, fair and consistent employee relations and help prevent complaints to employment tribunals”.

• Policy and procedure
What do you have in place? Is there a process that employees and their managers need to follow? We would advise that this is documented and that everyone is clear of the steps that they need to follow in times of adverse weather.

• Don’t believe your employee?

If you feel that an employee is taking advantage of the bad weather as a reason for not turning up for work revert to your Company’s disciplinary policy, ensuring that a thorough investigation is carried out.

• Employee’s child’s school closed?
An employee is entitled to unpaid leave in an emergency situation to look after dependents. It is important to maintain communication with the employee so that it is clear what the employee has in place going forward and when they are likely to return to work.

For further information about how to manage a particular issue related to you and your business please get in touch and we will guide you to an efficient resolution. You can contact us on 0161 478 3800 or email on hello@peachlaw.co.uk.

Adverse Weather- Are employees required to be paid?

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