Snowfall poses questions over employment rights

Both businesses and individuals have been urged to remind themselves of the laws which apply during wintry weather.

Both businesses and individuals have been urged to remind themselves of the laws which apply during wintry weather.

Large parts of the UK have been hit with heavy snowfall, with the difficult conditions causing disruption for many people trying to get to work this morning (Monday).

The challenges of battling through ice and snow to complete a commute obviously throw up a number of questions as to where employees and employers stand legally.

From an employee’s perspective, it should be noted that if a workplace is closed by bad weather, the employer cannot ordinarily deduct pay. The business may, however, ask their workforce to work from another office or – if possible – at home.

If a business is open, but an employee is unable to get in because of the adverse conditions, then they are not automatically entitled to be paid. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) offers guidance on how to proceed in these circumstances.

On their website the organisation notes: “There is no legal right for staff to be paid by an employer for travel delays (unless the travel itself is constituted as working time or in some situations where the employer provides the transport).

“However, employers may have contractual, collective or custom and practice arrangements in place for this. Discretionary payment for travel disruption might also be of use.”

If an employer wants to request that staff take paid holiday then they must ensure that they give the appropriate notice.

An ‘amber’ weather warning will remain in place for many regions until later today and although freezing conditions will continue into tomorrow in many parts of the country, temperatures are expected to turn milder on Wednesday.