As another winter storm approaches our shores, it is wise to think ahead about adverse weather and work.

It’s worth remembering that in most situations there is no legal right for an employee to have paid time off if they are unable to get to work or are late for work due to travel disruptions and or bad weather.

Advance planning will not only help avoid last minute uncertainties regarding the management of absences, but resolve pay and logistical issues before the weather turns really bad.

Use the following questions to help clarify your company’s approach to disruptions and potential absences caused by adverse weather:

  • Who will decide whether your business closes due to bad weather?
  • What will they base their decision on? eg national weather forecasts, local radio broadcasts, community notices, public transport closure, flood forecasts, so many inches of snow etc
  • How will a business closure be communicated to employees, contractors, workers? eg an emergency contact list via phone or text
  • Who do employees, contractors, workers have to contact if they are unable to make it to work due to the weather/travel disruptions?
  • Who can decide and grant permission for employees to work remotely/work from home?
  • What IT, Health & Safety and insurance arrangements need to be in place to enable employees to work remotely?
  • What is regarded as ‘reasonable effort’ to try and make it to work in bad weather?
  • How will employee payment be handled, especially if some people manage to make it to work and others do not?
  • How will measures taken be applied consistently and fairly across the organisation?

A clear approach that is communicated to all, ideally before it is needed, will help avoid confusion, misunderstandings and bad-feelings, reducing anxiety and stress for everyone.

If managed well, handling bad weather may even enhance morale and maintain, if not increase productivity, by creating opportunities to utilise more flexible work patterns.

If you need some help answering any of the above questions, just drop me a note or email.

For further information about travel disruption check the website.

Keep warm and safe!

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