Severe weather and travel disruption

This weekend we have seen some terrible weather conditions over the West Midlands and other parts of the UK. Over 20cm of snow and freezing conditions have led to many employees not being able to attend work.

It is important that you have a ‘bad weather’ policy in place that you can refer to in these rare situations. What do you do if an employee cannot get to work? The most important consideration is the member of staff’s welfare and safety.

The simplest way to deal with this situation is if the employee has the equipment to be able to work from home. With the technology of today, most people will be able to log in and work as normal. It is also a good idea to issue refresher guidelines on how to access online portals and cloud systems ahead of winter months. Whilst you are not legally entitled to have to pay members of staff who cannot get into work, you may want to look at the whole situation before making that judgement. If the office has to be closed, then they will need to be paid as normal. Some employees may choose to use the day as annual leave so they can enjoy the fun in the snow!

Due to the weather conditions, most schools close so some parents may need to be off to look after their children. ACAS quote that in emergency situations employees can have time off to look after dependents and severe weather would fall under an emergency situation.

So what should a staff member do in these situations? Try to plan in advance their travel arrangements to get in if possible. If the school is closed, can someone else look after your children? Employees could also try to work at a closer office if you have multiple office locations. Communication is also key, so try to stay in contact with colleagues and update them of your circumstances.

One other consideration is whether some employees could make it into work but have chosen to stay at home. You should deal with these people on a case by case basis. Just always keep in mind that some people will use the weather as a good excuse to have an extra day off.

Although these situations are very rare in the UK we talk a lot about having a box in our car with a shovel, blanket, food etc to be prepared. Equally employers need to be prepared with policies in place for these events. If you require any advice or assistance please contact Eagle HR at hrconsultant@eaglehr.co.uk