Be prepared for unsettled weather
Who knows what type of weather we shall experience this winter but it pays to be prepared. And in our world of HR that means having a Severe Weather Policy in place.
Whether we experience chaos caused by high winds or disruption brought by a blanket of snow, you’d be wise to be prepared for the disturbance that bad weather can bring to your business. In this event your employees need to be aware of what to do.
Communication is key. Do your employees know what to do if they can’t get into work because of extreme weather conditions?
But there’s more to consider as an employer than clear lines of communication. What about pay? What about flexible working? What about the temperature in the office?
Our tips and advice are designed to help you prepare ahead for the severe weather when it inevitably arrives.
- Having a Severe Weather policy in place is a great start. It will explain to employees what to do on days of severe weather.
- Pay – this subject always comes with different opinions:
- If you decide to close the office then the employee has a right to be paid. Failure to pay can result in a claim for breach of contract, unless the employment contract has a clause which entitles the employee to be laid off without pay.
- Employees cannot be forced to take unpaid holiday, unless this is written into the employment contract. If you would like employees to take time off as holiday then this needs to be agreed beforehand.
- Employees are not automatically entitled to get paid if they cannot make it into work.
- Employees should not be put at risk when commuting to work. They should not feel pressurised to risk their own safety and should not be forced to attempt the journey if it is disrupted.
- Keep an eye on the weather report and recommend employees to allow extra time for their commute.
- Consider working hours and place of work. Can this be adapted i.e. different hours or working from home?
- Consider how the cold weather can impact the workplace. The office should be kept at 16 degrees Celsius.
- Talk to your employees. Come to an arrangement before the severe weather arrives.
- Employees have the right to emergency unpaid leave to look after their children or other dependents in a crisis situation e.g. a child’s school being closed at short notice due to severe weather. (Extreme weather conditions can be seen as an emergency situation.)
- Make sure you have current contact details for your employees and your employees have contact details to contact their work.
- One option could be for the employee to make time up at a different date and still get paid their salary.
If you would like us to help you create a severe weather policy to include in your employee handbook contact us on 01737 336336 or email me.