As the winter weather starts to bite, is your business prepped for staff absences?
Heavy snow, ice, road and rail disruptions plus school closures can all prove problematic when trying to keep a stable workforce.
However, careful planning can help businesses through adverse weather, while also ensuring productivity and staff morale remains high.
As we move into a more modern era and employees are entitled to flexible working options or the ability to work from home, careful thought needs to be given to the management of employees working remotely.
Consider a home working policy, making it clear that working from home will require the employer to monitor output if necessary. Ensure your employees are fully equipped with the ability to work from home including electrical equipment such as phones, computers and secure access to shared servers or cloud-based operations.
Alternatively, you could agree with the employee that they start and finish at a later time, or that they take a day’s holiday.
Adverse weather policy
In periods of bad weather, it could be beneficial to introduce an ‘adverse weather policy’ outlining the rights of employees. Ensure this is communicated and effectively implemented so that staff are fully aware of it, avoiding unnecessary confusion and conflict.
As a substitute, you could amend your normal absence policy to cover such instances. The policy should contain guidance about workplace closures, disruptions to public transport, working from home and remote IT access, whether employees will be paid if they fail to attend work, disciplinary sanctions for snow days and whom employees should contact once they know they will be unable to make it in.
Dealing with absence
As a business owner, you do have the right to withhold paying an employee if they fail to turn up to work or are late for work due to the weather. Even if your business is damaged by the effects of absent workers, make sure that any disciplinary action you take is carried out according to proper and fair procedure.
This will help maintain consistent employment relations and help prevent complaints to employment tribunals.
To learn more about this aspect of employment law contact Sara Beaumont on 0161 761 4611 or email email@example.com