Winter is here! – What are the rules in your workplace?

Whilst snow is great fun for kids and those who work from home, heavy snow can bring about issues in the workplace. Adverse weather conditions often lead to staff shortages and lateness due to travel disruption.  But should you do when a member of staff is late due to bad weather or cannot make it in at all?


Legally an employee is not automatically entitled to pay if they are unable to get to work because of the bad weather. Technically this can be treated as an unauthorised absence. Employees are expected to make every reasonable effort to attend work without compromising their health and safety.  Some employers will still pay their staff under certain circumstances and where this is the case it should be outlined in your contracts of employment and adverse weather policy.

Annual Leave

Employees may ask to take the day as annual leave, which you may grant at your discretion. Strictly they should give the correct notice to take annual leave which is double the length of time they want to take, so for 1 days’ annual leave they must give 2 days’ notice. This won’t always be appropriate if the bad weather is unexpected.

Office Closures

If you as company decide to close the office due to adverse weather, then you should expect to pay your employees still.  If you remain open, remember the office temperature should not dip below 16⁰C and if conditions worsen you should let employees leave so that they do not face treacherous travel conditions on the way home.

School Closures

Employees with children may also have school closures to contend with.  In an emergency (such as a school closure) they have a statutory right to time off to make other arrangements, unpaid.   This may mean they have to take the day off to look after the child, or just an hour or two in the morning to drop the child off with a friend/family member.

Best practice

Often employees are uncertain about what to do when the weather is bad and they struggle to make it in. The best way to tackle these issues is to have a clear adverse weather policy. This policy should outline what they should do as best practice and make contingencies for when bad weather strikes. When writing your policy, consider the following:

Can some members of staff work from home?

  • Is there another office closer to their home where they can work for the duration of the bad weather?
  • Are there other means of transport available to staff? For example if the roads are closed, is there a train line nearby.
  • Can any staff who live close to each other lift share?

At TBOS we will look after your back office come rain or shine, and knowing that our team is here taking care of your accounts and payments while you’re contending with the weather can ease the stress. For more information call us on 0845 881 1112.

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