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Prestige News

Northern Ireland Winter Will Be Even Worse Than Last Year! -  So experts predict


Another cold winter with plenty of snow is being predicted by forecasters. Ice and snow caused chaos on roads and pavements last year in Northern Ireland.  A survey by the Federation of Small Businesses following a cold spell at the end of 2010 showed that 1 in 7 of its members’ employees failed to make it to work for at least one day as a result of snow.

• Is your business prepared for the chaos this may bring to the workplace?
• What do employers do if their employees don’t turn up for work?

 

There is no obligation to pay employees who are not able to make it to work due to adverse weather conditions.  If an employer chooses not to pay for the employees absence a deduction from wages will not be unlawful where the absence is unauthorised.  Employers need to communicate to employees what their intention is regarding payment for this type of absence.  Employees should be reminded that they are expected to adhere to absence reporting arrangements. 
Employers will also need to be sure of the exact reason for the absence as bad weather can lead to school closures or a failure in other care services and those employees who are responsible for a dependent are entitled to time off in these circumstances under Article 85A of the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (as amended).
Employers will need to check their policies and custom and practice in these circumstances. If employees are normally paid for these absences then failure to pay may amount to an unlawful deduction of wages.
If the Business chooses to closure during bad weather conditions if employees are ready and willing to work they will still be entitled to payment. The exception to this is where an employer has a temporary lay-off clause in their contract or by operation of custom and practice which allows them to make no payment. The clause will need to be examined to make sure it covers adverse weather and for how long. It should also be read in conjunction with any guaranteed wages clauses.
Employers would be wise to have a policy in place so that there is a clear undertanding between employer and employee on the status of the situation should it occur.

 

LETS BE POSITIVE AND BE PREPARED FOR THE WINTER WEATHER

• Consider if employees could work from home until the weather improves
• Consider allowing employees to take annual leave or making time up later
• Consider weather watching, check the forecast and anticipate work commitments - could they be changed
**ensure your policy around managing absence and pay due to bad weather is clear to employees – also if home working is an option that the health & safety risks and issues that surround this have been assessed.  Protect the business from possible illegal action.
CONTACT A HR CONSULTANT TODAY TO DISCUSS HR SUPPORT OPTIONS TAILORED TO SUIT YOUR ORGANISATION

 

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