The recent heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures caused treacherous driving conditions and many people were unable to travel into work.

There may be more severe weather on the way and JLT Business Insurance Services has noticed an increased number of employers asking whether they have to pay employees for these absences. JLT has linked up with HR, health and safety and payroll services provider Peopletime Ltd to put together some simple and effective advice:

  • You do not have to pay an employee if they are unable to travel to work unless their contract of employment states that they are entitled to pay under these conditions.
  • The same applies to those who have to leave work early due to weather conditions.
  • An employee only has to be paid if they are willing and able to work. Therefore, if an employee turns up to work and the business is forced to close they are entitled to payment.
  • You should ensure the employee has thought about all of possible routes to work. If the roads are too dangerous they may be able to get the train, bus or even walk.

If an employee is unable to get to work and you are unable or unwilling to pay them several options could be offered to the employee, such as:

  • Taking unpaid leave.
  • Taking the day as paid annual leave.
  • Making up the lost time.

However, not paying employees may have an adverse affect on staff morale. Be mindful that each employee has different circumstances, so it is recommended that you assess discretionary payments on a case by case basis (while of course being mindful of discrimination legislation and treating all staff fairly).

Mandy Perry, Divisional Managing Director of JLT Business Insurance Services, said: “It may help to put in place a contingency plan in the event of staff not being able to get into the office. This will help minimize the impact unexpected adverse weather conditions have on your day-to-day operations.”

It should also be borne in mind that employee's who are unable to work because they have to look after a dependant, such as a parent who has to look after their child because of a school closure, is entitled to dependant care leave.

The entitlement is to provide them with what is considered a reasonable amount of paid leave. The employee must notify their employer of their reasons for not attending work and how long they expect to be absent to qualify.

We hope you find this useful and if you want to check out any of your business insurance needs call JLT on 0800 454 371.

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Whilst all reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this publication no liability is accepted under any circumstances by Thistle Insurance Services Limited for any loss or damage occurring as a result of reliance on any statement, opinion, or any error or omission contained herein. Any statement or opinion reflects our understanding of current or proposed legislation and regulation that may change without notice. The content of this document should not be regarded as specific advice in relation to the matters addressed.

JLT Business Insurance Services is a division of Thistle Insurance Service Limited who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority under No. 310419.

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