Snow joke if ‘scrooge’ employers dock pay and holidays warns TUC

Snowed-in workers should not be forced to take holiday by “scrooge” employers because they’ve been kept away from work over the past few days, unions have warned.

The TUC has stressed it would be “bad practice” for organisations not to pay staff or to force them to take annual leave for any time they’ve spent away from the office. Doing so would cause resentment among colleagues that have been kept away from work through no fault of their own, according to general secretary Brendan Barber.

He said: “Scrooge bosses who dock pay and take away holiday will add to their business woes by creating resentment among staff. Workers who have been prevented from working through no fault of their own should not have to foot the bill for the bad weather conditions.

“For many the bad weather and lack of public transport have made their commute impossible. Good employers will already have bad weather policies so that those who are unable to work are still paid.”

The TUC also advised that employers should make sure that workers do not get trapped at work or put at risk if the weather gets worse.

However, Charlotte Pegman, a solicitor at law firm Hubbard Pegman and Whitney warned that, contrary to popular belief, an employer would not necessarily be to blame if a worker injured themselves due the recent extreme weather conditions.

She said: “If you slip in the car park at work or in the entrance to the office, or, if you work outside, doing your daily work, then unless your employer had the time, resources and ability to clear the snow and should have done so, there is no absolute right to damages if your employer doesn’t clear away snow. Employees must take steps to mitigate their own risk.”

Earlier this week the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development praised companies that had put in place the technology and management practices to allow their people to work flexibly while the snow and ice thaws.

Some business groups have estimated the disruptions due to adverse weather conditions across the UK will cost £3.5bn in lost operations.

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