As I write this I'm looking out of my office window to a good 3 inches of snow that's fallen overnight - and it's still falling.
We never quite seem prepared for it do we, despite the fact we know it's coming and it has a big impact to our businesses, through closures and staffing problems.
The first thing I heard when I woke up this morning was a list of schools closed in the local area. This ultimately means that parents are going to be facing a big headache as to what to do with their children so they can go to work.
Additionally, transport networks are hugely affected with buses, trains and trams all affected with cancellations or delays making travelling to some places of work really difficult.
So if you're dealing with staff that can't make it to work today for reasons related to the adverse weather, what do you do? How do you class the time? Is it paid or unpaid? Here are my tips for dealing with absences caused by weather:
Firstly, can your staff work from home? If they have the facility to work from home this might be beneficial for you, your business and their pocket so they don't lose pay. Set clear parameters for this though, what do you expect them to do (they might be limited in what they can access etc) so you can ensure that work is done.
Do they want to take the day as paid holiday from their entitlement? Some people would love the opportunity to take the day with their families and enjoy the snow. If they don't have enough holiday left, do they want to cancel another day and replace it with this?
Can employees make missed time up by working additional hours or covering extra shifts? If they can make the time up, make sure you agree the plan in advance so that it doesn't get forgotten about.
For those staff that can't make it in due to childcare issues and schools being closed, the above options are open to them but additionally, they have the right to Emergency Dependents Leave. This is a legal right to take a reasonable amount of time off to deal with emergencies relating to dependents, such as unexpected disruption and a breakdown in care arrangements. It's important to remember that this is primarily to arrange other care, however it's not always that simple and people do have the right to take this time off, but it is unpaid. Any member of staff exercising this right is protected from suffering any detriment from it.
If you have to close your place of work due to poor weather conditions, you will have to pay people. You can't deduct pay for such time off or you could be in breach of contract.
If you're facing other dilemmas caused by the weather, or want to chat through your specific circumstances, please do give us a call.
If you are an employer and need assistance with staff and employment matters, talk to Cheryl at PeakHR. We offer competitive rates and cater specifically for small employers.
Please note our blog posts contain general information and are intended as guidance only and should not be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. Please ensure that you obtain advice tailored to your individual situation before taking action. These posts apply to the UK only.