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Snow days - employee rights and employer responsibilities

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Snow days - employee rights and employer responsibilities

As the cold weather draws in, both employees and employers might start to consider how snow days could affect work life. Whether it’s your train that’s been cancelled or your car that doesn't make it off the driveway, we are all too familiar with the consequences the UK’s unexpected weather conditions can have on travel.

Employees might worry about whether or not they will get paid if they are unable to turn in to work. Or, even worse, might think their job is at risk due to having days off.

Business revenue can be damaged due to the effect of absent employees because of the weather. However, it is important that businesses adopt a fair approach when dealing with unexpected events. This will ultimately help maintain morale and employment relations and help avoid grievances and tribunal complaints.

Although there is no general legal right for staff to be paid by their employer for time off due to travel problems, employees may have clauses in their contracts which entitle them to pay in these circumstances. Alternatively, there may be informal agreements in place which allow employees to be paid, to use holidays, work flexibly or make up that time at a later date.

Although it sounds obvious, if you know that the weather is forecasting adverse conditions, ask your employer what the policy is for that eventuality and what your obligations are in terms of work and rights to pay. If you think it’s safe to go in to work, then plan your journey in advance. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time and maybe consider alternative routes or methods or transport. But most importantly, stay safe!