Are you prepared for winter disruption?
With the exception of parts of Scotland and northern England, we haven’t had much snow yet this winter in the UK. However the current forecasts are for more stormy conditions with ice, rain, wind and floods predicted across parts of the country. This may mean that many employees will struggle to get to work. Even if it doesn’t affect your business this time, it is worthwhile putting an Adverse Weather or Business Disruption Policy in place if you don’t already have one, so that employees know what is expected of them and whether they will be paid or not in such circumstances.
The strict legal position is that you are only obliged to pay an employee when he or she is 'ready, willing and available for work'. Therefore, you do not need to pay an employee who fails to turn up for work due to the bad weather.
But the situation may not be quite as clear cut. For example:
• Are there other alternatives? Could employees work from home or report to a different site? Could they take annual leave or swap their rostered days?
• Have you taken the decision to close the organisation’s premises? If so, you would have to continue to pay the employees unless you have a ‘lay off’ clause in their contracts (and note that you will be obliged to make Statutory Guarantee payments in such cases.)
• Have the employees got to stay at home to look after a child whose school has been closed? If so, that would come under the arrangements for emergency leave to care for a dependant.
To make sure that you have all such scenarios covered and that you treat all employees consistently, you should have an adverse weather policy in place. Get in touch if you need help now or want to make sure that you’re covered for the next period of bad weather.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016