Bad Weather Rights Explained

Bad Weather Rights Explained

  • Date: Tuesday 22nd October 2019
  • PDF: Download

With the autumn storms upon us, and the first snowfall reported in Scotland, it is time employers review their adverse weather policies to ensure they are not getting caught out.

Your employees’ rights

In short, there is nothing in law that gives an employee the right to payment, time off in lieu or suchlike – it all comes down to the policies you have in place.

Hourly paid employees will typically lose out on wages, unless their employer offers to pay the time as holiday.

Salaried employees are usually asked to make up the time lost or take unpaid leave or holiday.

Wherever possible, employers should opt for remote or home working, which can ensure business continuity.

If the decision not to come into work lies with the employee, employers are urged to reasonably assess if the journey the employee is making really is too dangerous or taxing.

Generally speaking, employees located in cities will find it hard to make the argument, since the commute will rarely be impossible (although possibly longer and more inconvenient than on a normal day). In those cases, employers can insist on staff attending work and take appropriate measures for non-attendees.

Team members living in more remote locations may of course be affected more severely. Don’t forget that even if you would feel comfortable using your car in bad conditions, your employee may not. As an employer it is important to observe your duty of care and consider liability if employees feel forced to attend work and suffer detriment as a result.

If you are not able to provide work due to bad weather, you are able to offer holiday pay to your staff, although we would recommend putting this into your policy. You can also withhold pay for hourly staff if there is no other work available that they could be reasonably undertaking.

What should you do?

This all, of course, comes down to employee relations and communication. We advise employers to review and/or implement adverse weather policies and communicate these clearly to their workforce. Your HR Consultant can assist you with this as part of your ADVISOR membership – please contact us if you would like support on this matter.

Source: Manuela Grossmann

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