Kent has had its fair share of wet and stormy weather so far this winter. This had led to roads being blocked and public transport cancelled, sometimes making it impossible for employees to get into work.
So what is the legal position if an employee cannot make it into work due to the weather? The first place to check is the contract of employment. This may specify whether an employee is entitled to be paid or not when they cannot make it into work.
Many employment contracts will not address this though. If not, then the general position is that if the employee does not provide any work and the workplace remains open, they are not entitled to be paid. However, taking this approach may lead to resentment amongst employees, especially where they cannot get into work for a number of days. After all, the employees are not at fault here. To avoid this, I suggest that employers consider some of the following alternative ways of dealing with this issue:
- Invite employees to take the time as annual leave;
- Allow employees to work overtime to make up the hours; or
- Where possible, permit employees to work from home or work from a different workplace.
Also, bear in mind that all employees are entitled to time off to deal with emergencies concerning their dependents, such as a school closure. There is no right to be paid for this time off.
The best advice is to plan ahead. Make it clear in advance what your policy is on this issue so if the bad weather strikes again, you and your workforce know where you stand.
Read the full article in Kent Business online.