Whilst people are excited about the first snow fall of the year in many places across the UK this week, many employers will be dealing with the difficulties which this can cause and so we have set out some frequently asked questions and answers:
Q: If my employees do not attend work because of the bad weather do I have to pay them?
A: Whether it’s the public or private sector, it’s important to check the wording of staff contracts and consider whether the organisation has a ‘Bad Weather’ policy in place. Such a policy can be helpful in ensuring consistency amongst staff and avoiding uncertainty regarding payment.
Where contracts are silent on the matter and there is no policy in place, if a member of staff is willing and able to attend work but the place of work is unable to open due to the bad weather, then not paying them will likely leave the organisation exposed to a claim.
However if the place of work is open but a member of staff is unable to attend due to the weather conditions, you may not be required to pay the employee.
Bear in mind that disabled staff might find it more difficult to get to work in adverse weather and you are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that such individuals are not disadvantaged because of their disability. Extra care should therefore be taken when considering whether it is appropriate deduct pay in these circumstances.
Q: Some of my staff have come in to work or are obviously working from home but ‘the usual suspects’ are taking advantage of the bad weather. What can I do?
A: If you think a member of staff is taking advantage of the bad weather and not attending work when they are able to do so, you may want to initiate disciplinary proceedings. It is important to remember that you would need to handle the matter in accordance with your disciplinary procedures and the ACAS Code of Practice.
Q: Can I stipulate that any days off work due to bad weather are taken as paid holiday?
A: If contracts and policies are silent on the issue, then it is always preferable to agree a mutually acceptable solution with your employees. This could include agreeing to treat the days off as paid holiday, or you could allow employees to make up lost time as overtime later in the month. Whichever option you choose, it is important that you are consistent in your treatment and dealings with employees.
Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any other aspect of employment law at email@example.com or 01656 645525.
Solicitor, Employment Department at Berry Smith Lawyers