Winter Weather: Advice for Employers

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20 Jan 2017

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Severe weather has affected much of the UK with many areas completely cut off by snow and ice. In these treacherous conditions it's essential that you put the proper procedures in place to keep your employees safe.

To help advise employers about the correct action to take during this period of severe weather we've put together this handy blog:

Health & Safety

Croner’s Health and Safety expert, Stephen Thomas, is urging employers to set clear guidelines to help their employees understand and comply with company policies on adverse weather conditions. Stephen says: “Employers should have clear terms in their contracts to ensure there is maximum flexibility when bad weather happens. It’s a particular problem for people who live in rural areas and it is the responsibility of their employer to ensure they are taking precautions against dangerous commutes. “Although it may be inconvenient when staff can’t get to work, employers should not risk putting their employees in danger by encouraging them to drive in unsafe conditions in an attempt to get to work.”

Employment Issues

From an employment perspective the issues that arise from adverse weather conditions centre on whether employees should be paid if they can’t get to work and what happens if a worker uses the weather as an excuse not to go. Andy Willis, Head of Legal and Advisory at Croner says: “Most of our callers ask whether staff should be paid if they can’t get to work; or what happens if two employees live in a similar location and one makes it in to work and the other doesn’t. “In some instances there are genuine reasons for absence and employers should be sympathetic to those employees. However, there are cases where employees are using these conditions as an excuse not to turn up to work. “If employers find that employees have used the weather as a reason to take time off, they are well within their rights to not pay the employee or request that the individual takes the time as annual leave and, if necessary they could investigate the circumstances behind the absence and consider whether disciplinary action would be appropriate. “Employers need to ensure they have formal procedures in place to deal with employees who are absent from work. Having a procedure to follow means an employer can show that employees are treated equally, fairly and reasonably, which is important if they want to discipline them for poor attendance. “Employers are also advised from a business continuity perspective to put measures in place so that key employees can work from home so that the business remains operational.”

Speak to an Expert

For further information regarding winter weather advice for employers, please contact our team of experts on 0808 145 3490.

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