Adverse Weather Conditions

  • December 20, 2018

An employer’s guide to extreme weather: Can your staff take a snow day?


During the winter months, many employers will be facing situations where employees are unable to get to work due extreme weather conditions.

Some employers may be unsure how they should deal with such a situation and what they can ask employees to do if they are unable to make it to work.

In this article, our HR specialists take a look at the actions employers can take staff are faced with extreme weather conditions.

Educate employees by putting employment policies in place

One of the most important things you can do as an employer is make it clear what you expect from employees should their travel plans be disrupted by snow and ice.

Make sure your employees know what the procedures are, preferably ahead of any expected bad weather.

What you can do if employees can’t get into work

If any employees can’t get into work may be able to make them take the day as unpaid leave, holiday, or work flexible hours to make the time up in some form.

If you have outlined a policy on extreme weather conditions in your company handbook or employee’s contract of employment, this should be followed.

Can you make employees take a holiday day if they can’t beat the snow?

The law states that the notice employees are given must be double the length of the time you want them to take as annual leave. Therefore, for one day of annual leave, you would need to give employees 2 days’ notice.

Can you instruct employees to work from home or another location?

If an employee is able to complete some or all of their tasks from home or from another branch, it would be reasonable to request that they do this.

What if an employee tells you their children’s school closed?

Parents are entitled to take reasonable amounts of time off work if their arrangements for childcare are disrupted unexpectedly. However, you may be able to request that employees take this time as unpaid leave.

What if you are forced to close your workplace?

If the extreme weather forces you to close your workplace or office you can’t deduct employees pay.

However, once again if it is reasonable for them to work from home or another branch you can request that they do this.

Find out how the experts at Elizabeth Michael can help you

Here at Elizabeth Michael, our HR specialists can help you draft policies and procedures which make it clear what you expect from your employees.

With a clear policy in place, you can ensure your employees understand your position and avoid any unnecessary disputes.