During winter months especially, we are often asked ‘how do we manage the situation where employees don’t attend work due to bad weather? Do we have to pay them?”. Also, “what about employees who want to leave work early due to the adverse weather conditions such as snow?”. The legal position is that employers are entitled to dock pay of employees who fail to attend work. However, is this the right thing to do?
Our view is that employers should look at the situation pragmatically and show empathy with employees. Research shows that being flexible and showing trust will pay off in the long term, with employees more motivated and going the extra mile when they are in work. There is nothing in it for the employer to require the employee to spend all day trying to get in or for them being stuck for hours trying to get home.
Where business can be affected regularly by adverse weather conditions it is recommended employers have a policy in place. Many employers still rely on day-to-day managers making ad-hoc, discretionary decisions, on whether employees should attend work or when they should leave work. Having a policy in place lets employees know exactly where they stand and clarifies the situation for managers who have to deal with these situations.
Both sides need to be realistic about what’s possible in terms of expectations for employees attending work and what the employer can afford in terms of pay. Employers should always communicate with their employees to ensure they understand the rationale and how the policy will be implemented.
If you would like to discuss any aspect this HR article in more detail, or how we could help you with your Adverse Weather policy, please contact our HR consultants at firstname.lastname@example.org