As we all know managing staff absence can be a challenge for employers in these weather conditions. Here is a quick update on your position as employers which may assist this morning and the rest of the week.
Adverse weather can have a huge impact on businesses especially when client meetings and deadlines all still have to be met. However, the onset of bad weather does not have to signal disaster for businesses. Effective absence management and flexible working options can help maintain staff productivity and reduce the cost to businesses.
Staff can sometimes be uncertain about their statutory rights, such as whether they are entitled to parental leave when childcare arrangements break down or if they have the right to be paid if they can’t make it into work due to bad weather.

 

The principles to follow though as follows;

  • Staff do have the right in law to unpaid leave to look after children or other dependents in an emergency and a school being shut at short notice is likely to be considered an emergency. Our advice would be to remain flexible and agree to the time off in such weather conditions when schools close down. It is at your discretion if you choose to pay employees for that time, unless their contract of employment states otherwise. The time off however, needs to be reasonable and allow an opportunity to make other arrangements where possible. 
  • If your staff are only entitled to the statutory minimum of holidays you must give double the amount of notice to the amount of days you want staff to take, if you want staff to use holidays in these periods. For instance, for 1 day off it will require 2 days’ notice, so this is unlikely to apply unless this was communicated to staff earlier this week. 
  • If staff can’t make it in due to bad weather, take a flexible approach – can they work from home or somewhere else? For instance, a co-working space that they could attend. Unless a contract states otherwise there is no statutory right to be paid if a member of staff can’t make it to work due to the weather. 
  • If you choose to close the place of work all members of staff should still be paid.

Whilst the law is clear on what time off should be paid or unpaid, the best approach to maintain morale within your team is always to consider the individual circumstances. A paid day off is usually much less of an impact on profit then a team with low morale that is likely to impact on productivity for weeks to come!

Any queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch and also review you adverse weather policies and make sure they are communicated to employees.

And don’t forget enjoy the snow when you can!

Damage limitation when the weather impacts your business!