Snow Days; How to handle them

This morning when we opened our curtains we were once again greeted with the beautiful sight of fresh snow. Whilst there is no doubt the outside world looks very pretty today, travelling to work is a different story.

For many of you most of your time is spent balancing being fair but also trying to ensure that your business continues to run. Days like this always create lots of calls to our Business Partners for advice and support as employees struggle to get into work so we thought we would share with you our top tips for dealing with snow days:

  1. Safety is the most important thing, you have a duty of care for the well being of your employees therefore it is really important that you think about what you can do to minimize any risks. You might want to do a risk assessment if necessary.
  2. Travel time is likely to be increased, expect that employees may take longer to get into work and to get home.
  3. Ensure the working environment is as safe as possible, grit the car park and pathways to prevent slips and falls, surfaces may become wet so use ‘wet floor’ signs to alert employees (and of course members of the public) to this and increase the number of times surfaces such as tiled floors are dried to minimise this.
  4. Monitor the weather conditions through weather reports and plan ahead for the rest of the day and the coming days.
  5. If you operate multiple sites consider asking people to work from the site which is geographically closest to their home. Restrict unnecessary travel where possible, if you planned a team meeting in a central location consider rescheduling.
  6. Consider whether your employees can work from home, if they can you may find they are more productive on days like this as they don’t have challenges of travel or the worry of how they will get home. Of course you have to ensure that they can reasonable carry out their role from home, if they cannot do so and it is not possible to get into work then put in place other steps such as emergency holidays, unpaid leave or Lieu time.
  7. Consider where people live and think about how they will get home. You may want to allow people to leave earlier to avoid travel in the dark or as temperatures drop. Remember not everyone feels confident driving in the snow and they are likely to be worrying all day.
  8. Schools may be closed meaning that employees have no choice but to remain home to care for their children. This is ‘Time of For Dependents’ and should be managed in accordance to your policies.
  9. Plan ahead, look at the weather (and temperatures) for the week ahead, what can you do now to manage the impact of this. Let employees know what you expect of them; this could include asking them to attempt to come to work as long as it is safe, to let you know by a certain time, to take work home today in anticipation of problems.

snow 2The most popular question we get asked is about whether you have to pay employees if they cannot attend work due to the weather. The short answer is no you don’t unless you have stipulated you will within your policies, rather than deduct payment you might want to consider offering emergency holidays, enabling the employee to use any accrued Lieu time up or allowing the employee to work the time back at a later date.

If you are a client of HR2day and you have any questions our team is available to support you. If you are not a client but need support then you can call us on 01325 288299 (option 2) to discuss how can help.



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