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Snow your Rights

Published 5 months ago by Elkie Holland
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Snow is here !   Love it or hate it… they said it was coming and in many places up and down the country, it is now here.    Travel disruption is in the news and schools are arleady being closed.

With the snow settling – now what ?   As things can get challenging in inclement weather, it's useful to know your rights - especially regarding work and pay !


Travel Disruption

It is usually the employees responsibility to get to and from work, therefore an employer does not have to pay you if you do not show up.  If you don’t show up, an employer can regard the absence as unauthorised.   However, an exception would be if the employer normally provides transport, and this is cancelled due to the weather.


Childcare

If your child’s school or nursery is closed this would qualify as an emergency. The Law states you have the right to take “Dependent Leave” to make sure your child is looked after in an emergency.    This is generally unpaid time off work.  This is not time off to look after your child, but time to make alternative arrangements for their care instead.  


Treacherous Journey

If you feel your journey is too dangerous to make, your employer cannot force you to make it.  However they are not obliged to pay you.


Office Shut

If the workplace is closed because of snow, you would normally be paid for the time – unless there is a provision allowing for unpaid lay-off in your contract.   Your employer might be able to ask you to go to another workplace, or work from home, if you are able to.  If they have closed the office and you can’t work from home, then the employer should still pay you.


Office Too Cold

Minimum Temperature 16C)

There is no minimum workplace temperature, however, employers do need to keep a safe working environment.  The Health and Safety Executive recommends a minimum temperature as 16C for workplaces where the nature of work is fairly inactive or deskbound, such as offices.


Holiday

Employers cannot force you to take holiday, but they can stop money.  Most employers must give you at least two days' notice before they can ask you to take a day's holiday, however, if you get more than the statutory minimum (28 days) they might be able to make a case.


Conclusion

In the majority of instances: 

No Work = No Pay

If you cannot make it to work them maybe suggest to your employer that you:

  • Work from home
  • Take holiday
  • Make time up later
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