10 Jun 2014

Employment

Solicitor advises employees of their rights in the face of snowfall

With weather forecasters predicting adverse weather conditions for Wales from the end of the week, an employment solicitor is warning employees to be careful what they wish for when it comes to snowfall.

Daniel Wilde, Employment Partner at HardingEvans Solicitors, is urging employees to clarify their employer’s position on adverse weather, in order to avoid any confusion, or worse loss of wages over the next few days.

Mr Wilde said: “The first and most important thing employees can do if there is a warning of snow, is to check with their boss what the company’s adverse weather policy is. Most companies are pretty flexible but it is better to clarify your position beforehand as if your office is open, and other employees make it to work, you may be forced to take the time as unpaid or annual leave.

“While many employers are sympathetic to staff who can’t make it to work, either because it affects their journey to work or their children’s schools are closed, any allowances they make are likely to be out of goodwill rather than any legal obligation. Ultimately, employers are well within their rights to put the needs of their business before anything else.”

In the past, bad weather related absenteeism has cost the UK economy millions and with many businesses already struggling, many will want to ensure that they don’t lose valuable time unnecessarily.

On the other hand, if the weather is so severe that an employer decides to close their business, employees are stopped from work through no fault of their own and may well be entitled to receive their full pay, subject to any contrary provision in their contracts of employment.

Mr Wilde added: “The other issue is that some people may be forced to take emergency time off if, for example, their child’s school is closed. In this situation, there is a statutory right for staff to take leave in unforeseen circumstances, albeit this is unpaid and does  not apply for  extended periods.

“I would strongly urge people to find out where they stand now to avoid last minute panic.”

Contact Daniel Wilde on 01633 244233 or email wilded@hevans.com

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