20 Jan 2016
With wintry conditions set to affect most of the country, employers need to make sure they have the right procedures in place to deal with the inevitable chaos it will bring. Health and safety challenges 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. Louise Barnes, Senior Employment Consultant 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 for the time they have taken off 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.” Croner can help devise a wide range of policies and procedures. Give us a call on 01455 897329 to find out how we can help your business.
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