With the weather forecast not looking very promising over the next few days, many employers will be considering how to treat staff members who claim to be unable to get into work.

James Hall, Associate at Charles Russell LLP, has provided a few hints for employers as the snow and ice looks set to have an impact across the country:

“Whilst some may prefer to simply deduct pay from those who don’t turn up, the legal position on this is not straightforward and is based on the facts, as well as the previous conduct of both parties.

“In addition, the damage to the morale of otherwise conscientious employees who are simply unable to make the journey can be counterproductive. An alternative to this approach is to request that employees take the missed day out of their holiday allowance, something that it obviously easier to do at the start of the holiday year than at the end. Some employers are happy to simply let the absences go as ‘snow days’.”

He goes onto say:

“However this approach is not without its risks as those employees who have battled in may feel underappreciated, not to mention less inclined to make the effort in future. In addition, this approach becomes less attractive for any prolonged period of disruption.”

Hall concludes:

“In the absence of any clear policy on such situations, it is useful if employers can make their position known as soon as any adverse weather is predicted. This way, any employees who are subject to any form of pay or holiday deduction will be aware of this before the event. Where home or remote working is possible, this can be a useful way to accommodate all parties in the face of events over which they have no control.”