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Snowed Under – Getting to Work in Bad Weather

Snowed Under – Getting to Work in Bad Weather

We’ve had some horrible weather recently - storms, wind and floods - and now there’s snow on the way. Some employees may be affected by the bad weather and find it difficult to get to work. In these circumstances, it’s helpful to let them know what they should do and what the options are.


If employees can’t get to work or are going to be late, they must let you know. There may be times when this is not possible – as for example where there are power cuts - and you will have to make allowances in circumstances when there is no access to a phone.

Make them aware that failure to notify properly of non-attendance without a reasonable explanation will count as unauthorised absence and therefore be unpaid. Furthermore, it could constitute a disciplinary offence, which may result in formal disciplinary action.

Travelling to

Employees who travel to work by car and are unable to get to work because of the weather must try to get to work by making alternative arrangements, e.g. public transport.

Where alternative transport is available employees will be expected to make use of it even if this differs from their normal mode of transport.

Make it clear that while employees are expected to make reasonable efforts to find alternative means of getting to work, they are not expected or required to put themselves in danger in order to do so.

Employees who arrive for work late due to inclement weather or other such extreme circumstances may be expected to make up the time lost. Likewise, requests to leave work early because of the weather may also be agreed on the same basis.


Where it is likely that the bad weather conditions prevent an employee from attending work will continue for more than one day, you should consider allowing them to work from home. This is dependent on the nature of employment and whether circumstances permit this to happen.

There may be times where an employee’s inability to attend work is caused by a need to provide emergency care for family purposes e.g. in the event of school/nursery closures, illness or other family situation. In such circumstances the dependency leave provisions will apply.

When an employee has not been able to attend work at all due to inclement weather, or other extreme circumstances outside of their control, then you may come to an agreement with that individual to allow them to:

  • take a day’s annual leave; or
  • offer a day’s authorised leave without pay; or
  • work at home; or
  • make up the time/hours lost within one month of the occurrence

Leaving Work

Where weather conditions deteriorate during the working day and you conclude that employees may have difficulty in travelling home, consider allowing them to leave work early. Take information from the AA, the police and local radio into consideration when making such a decision.

Employees will not lose pay where the company can’t open or makes the decision to send employees home due to severe weather.


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Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.

Copyright © 2020 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.

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