Snow days, leaves on the line and the wrong type of rain

All too familiar reasons why employees can’t get into work on time or at all. Employers can’t control these problems but there are measures that can be taken to minimise disruption and disagreement.

Adverse weather or journey to work policies are advisable so that it is clear how the company will treat lateness or absences in certain scenarios. It also assists management in taking a consistent approach leaving less scope for confusion and disagreement.
When putting together such a policy consider the following:
  • Are there alternatives ways for employees to work
  • Will the company deduct pay for absences/lateness
  • investigate the reasons for the absece before deducting pay
  • treat all employees consistently to avoid discrimination claims
  • remember to allow for dependents leave for parents to deal with emergencies in relation to childcare or other dependent issues
  • take into account the obligation to ensure health, safety and welfare of employees – is too much pressure to attend work putting your employees at risk or in danger if conditions are very bad?
A certain amount of flexibility may be required in managing weather related absences but from a legal perspective employers can treat absences related to weather conditions like any other unauthorised absence. i.e. they are not necessarily entitled to be paid. However, before deducting pay, the reason for the absence should be investigated. This may involve requesting proof of the transport disruption and considering whether other employees have been able to make it to work. Ideally, the employer will reserve the contractual right to deduct wages in the these events if this is the action they wish to take.

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