Weekly dilemma: Severe weather conditions

Some of our employees did not make it into work recently because of the severe weather conditions. Are we still required to pay them?

Unless you have contractually promised to provide transport for employees to and from their place of work, the onus is on the employees to get to work, regardless of the severity of the weather conditions.

The responsibility for employees getting to work does not lie with the employer. If employees fail to turn up for work in these circumstances, the employer is under no obligation to pay them.

If an employee’s normal mode of transport cannot be used because of disruption due to severe weather conditions, the employer should first encourage the employee to explore alternative means of safe transport.

You may wish to consider whether the employee could usefully work from home until the weather situation has improved. If this is not a viable option, then the alternatives available are to advise employees that any time off work in these circumstances will be unpaid, or paid on a discretionary basis, but only in exceptional cases.

Another option is that employees can request to take the time off as paid annual leave.

The key points are:

  • Be aware that putting in place an ‘adverse weather’ or similar policy should help to reduce scope for confusion.

  • Consider whether it is necessary for employees to attend the workplace at their normal time, or whether there are alternative ways of working.

  • Consider how absences or lateness due to severe weather or transport disruptions will be treated.

  • Remember your health and safety obligations.

Provided by XpertHR


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