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Q: With the freezing winter weather set to continue into January, many employees may find it difficult to get into work. What steps can be taken to ensure that staff don’t treat a bit of snow as an excuse for a day off work?

A: Even a slight spattering of snow can make attendance at work turn erratic, with some opting out on the sight of a few snowflakes. There are a few things that can be done to ensure that employees know their responsibilities when it comes to getting to work in bad weather.

It is very much the employee’s responsibility that they turn up for work, if they don’t turn up, they don’t get paid. However, if weather conditions make it dangerous to get into work, you cannot expect employees to risk their safety to get into work. If the weather makes coming into work impossible, consider introducing a formal call-in procedure for those who know they are going to be late.

It is advisable to have an adverse weather policy to clearly outline employee’s responsibilities and gives employers more flexibility. If staff are having difficulty coming into work consider the following:

  • Homeworking – may be possible for those who purely need internet access and a computer for their duties.
  • Annual leave – you could require staff to take annual leave.
  • Unpaid leave
  • Flexi-time – staff could make up time lost from not coming into work, but this needs to be monitored carefully.

On the other hand, if an employee comes to work but weather changes during the day, such as fog, results in them being unable to meet clients and perform their job role, it is important to have contingency plans in place for this by having suitable alternative work lined up.

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