With the recent bad weather, many businesses across the country have been forced to close or get by with skeleton staff. The question now on most employer’s minds is do they have to pay staff who are unable to come into work, whether because of workplace closure or inability to travel.
There is no legal obligation on employers to pay their employees if the business was forced to close due to extreme weather conditions or if employees were unable to travel to work due to bad weather. However, it is important to be aware of any custom and practice in the organisation or contractual clause, which may override this position.
The general advice to employers is to be as flexible as possible. The handling of bad weather and travel disruption can be a real opportunity for an employer to boost staff morale and show yourself as an all round fair employer. Possible considerations might include:
- Can you be flexible with regard to working hours or working patterns?
- Is it possible for employees to work from home or even at a different location?
- Would it be possible for the employee to work back the time missed at a later date?
- Rather than deducting pay for time missed you could offer that the employee take annual leave for the time. Whilst offering this as a solution is recommended, enforcing it without the agreement of the employee would not be best practice.
A company policy on absence due to inclement weather should address the situation where employees are unable to attend work, due to weather-related circumstances. Having such a policy should also mean there is much less scope for confusion and disagreement.