Snow: Employers urged not to discipline staff for absence due to snow

Firms have been urged not to discipline staff if they failed to make it to work due to the harsh winter weather.

David Price, of employment law firm Peninsula, said employers should be a little more flexible, adding that bosses may wish to look at ways to make travelling home a little easier, the Guardian reports.

“Look at the possibility of an earlier finish or alternative methods of getting people home, especially for those staff that use public transport. Where possible, companies should also look at the possibility of allowing staff to work from home.”

His words echo similar calls made by the TUC yesterday.

However, some of the country’s biggest employers refused to rule out docking the pay of staff who were unable to get in to work.

The paper reports that the London School of Economics told staff that if they could not work from home or reschedule their work, they would be expected to take annual or unpaid leave.

Workers at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust were e-mailed on Tuesday and told to “try every option to make it safely into work”. Those unable to do so were asked to take annual leave or arrange to make up the missed time.

Employers who opt not to pay staff for missed days have the law on their side. Lawyers say that unless a worker’s contract said they would get paid for snow days, employers are within their rights to dock pay or force staff to use holiday.

Meredith Hurst, of employment law firm Thomas Maxfield, said: “The obligation is on the employee to try and get there and be ready, willing and available to work. However, if they are having problems, employers would be advised to try to accommodate staff.”

Comments are closed.