Adverse weather and travel disruption

15 December, 2014
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

With news this week of a ‘weather bomb’ hitting parts of the UK, employers should (if they haven’t already) give some thought to the consequential workplace issues, namely, travel disruption.

Acas has recently issued some helpful guidance for employers, dealing generally with ‘workplace issues over winter months’. The key points to note are that:

  • Employees are not automatically entitled to pay if they are unable to get into work because of bad weather (unless the travel itself constitutes working time);
  • Employers should, however, check their handbooks / contracts to be sure that there is no contractual agreement / duty to pay staff in these circumstances. They should also be mindful that a term to this effect could be ‘implied’ into contractual terms where it has become custom and practise to pay staff in these scenarios;
  • Travel disruption policies can be a good way of ensuring staff know what is expected of them in the event the weather does affect their ability to get into work, and can deal with whether or not employees will be paid in these circumstances;
  • Employers should be flexible and consider alternatives such as working from home, in the event it is not possible to get to work. Be prepared, however, for employees to seek to rely on instances where they have been able to successfully work from home in the past, when making flexible working requests for example; and
  • Employees are entitled to unpaid time off to look after dependents in emergency situations – this might be the case where, for example, schools are closed and employees have to stay at home to look after children.

You can access Acas’ guidance and further details here. Next up….. Christmas parties……