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Dear Andrew,

With increasingly severe weather being forecast how should we treat staff who say they are unable to attend work due to the weather?

Dear NSA Member,

With the weather forecasters predicting an extended icy chill what factors should employers consider when faced with severe weather and travel disruption? When severe weather hits many employees are unable to attend work due to travel disruption, this is always closely followed by a media “storm” debating the fairness of employers treating the absence as unpaid.

Employers who develop an agreed policy to cover such a situation will ensure staff have advance notice of the steps they should take when storms arrive and stop arguments about how the absence from work will be treated.

The policy needs to enable employers to balance their need for continuity of care with their duty to ensure the health and safety of their workforce and recognise those employees who have tried their upmost to attend work.

Key areas to include:

  • Treatment of Absence – the range of available options include deduction from leave entitlement/flexi balance, making up hours at a later date or non-payment - the final option requires a contractual right to deduct.
  • Health & Safety - statement to reflect the employer’s duty of care and provide guidance for employees on their decision to travel during periods of dangerous weather.
  • Business Continuity – establish call in arrangements and advise employees to report to work at a site close to their home or allow for interim working from home arrangements where the job allows.


The response is for information only and does not constitute professional or legal advice.

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A Holdaway

Andrew Holdaway is the founder of Pivotal HR, provider of a comprehensive range of HR services to SME social care organisations.

Andrew has worked in the sector for 15 years and chose to specialise in social care because of the clear contribution effective people management, development and leadership make to the delivery of high quality, safe, person centred and cost effective services.

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