How to manage your business during bad weather

Our partners at Slater Heelis LLP give advice on what employers need to do in adverse weather conditions to ensure the smooth running of their business.

Every winter businesses struggle with staff using bad weather as a reason not to come into work. What do these businesses need to do to ensure that they know what the company policy is on non-attendance?

This is a very common problem and we have created an Adverse Weather Policy for our clients based on the basic principle that an employee's contract of employment requires them to attend work in order to receive payment.

The purpose of the policy is to ensure that all employees are treated fairly and consistently, when normal to and from work travel arrangements are disrupted by severe weather conditions, and covers the key issues that you as an Employer and your employees need to be aware of. These include:

  • You as the employer need to inform staff, customers and members of the general public of changes to your operations.
  • Employees should inform their manager if they feel that their personal safety and /or that of others is at risk in the event of adverse weather conditions.
  • Employees are expected to make every effort to attend work as normal, which could involve having to make special arrangements to ensure that they can attend. If an employee is late or cannot reach work, they must take all reasonable steps to report their inability to attend as soon as possible.
  • You may also give consideration to the employee working from home or from another site that they are able to get to, if this is a possibility.
  • If you need to close your building you need to give staff full instructions as to what they need to do.

During adverse weather conditions, you also need to consider a range of factors impacting upon an employee’s ability to get to work which may include their safety, distance to work, prevailing weather conditions, the employee’s mode of transport, dependents or child care and any medical conditions that may prevent them getting to work.

If your employees are unable to report for work because of bad weather you can treat the absence as lieu time (the employee must make the time up), annual leave (at the employer’s discretion), or unpaid leave of absence (ie the appropriate deduction will be made from their salary in respect of time off). The employee should be asked to express a preference as to which of the above should apply but the final decision will be at your discretion.

If you would like a full version of the free Adverse Weather Policy please contact Slater Heelis. Tel 0161 975 3823

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