What does winter weather mean for your business?

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In a cold snap, businesses can be disrupted by winter weather and even forced to close if employees cannot get to work due to the impact of snow and ice on our transport links.

So, what should an employer consider in the event that Jack Frost keeps your staff away?

• An employee is under a duty to attend work and when this is not possible due to bad weather there is no entitlement to be paid (unless the contract of employment makes specific provision).
• Employers should always seek to act reasonably and in this situation, we suggest considering alternatives such as working from home, making the time up in lieu, or allowing paid holiday (as part of their normal holiday entitlement).
• Employers should exercise caution before putting pressure on employees to attend work in bad weather, or force them to travel.  There are clear health and safety risks involved and an employer will owe their staff a duty of care.
• Where it is suspected that poor weather is a mere excuse for non-attendance and that absence is for a different reason, employers can investigate and consider disciplinary action.

It is a good idea to ensure that your expectations and rules in times of bad weather are clear and communicated to your staff.  The rules could be included as part of your contract of employment, or staff handbook.

Feel free to contact Kerry Curd or James Edmonds at WBW Solicitors for further information.