Bad Weather…Transport Problems….Staff Can’t Get To Work..What Are The Rules
It’s really bad winter weather-or there are public transport strikes – and your household/domestic staff just can’t get to your home for work….so who has to take responsibility and what are the rules?
Well, we come back to the thorny issue of the contract of employment you have issued for the staff member or members. Put simply, unless stated otherwise, it is the responsibility of the staff to get themselves to work, and if they cannot, unless their contract of employment states otherwise, the time taken off is without pay. This is the case even if the circumstances are beyond their control.
If you wish to be more lenient and pay for the lost time, then that is your decision, but all employees must be treated on an equal basis.
You also have the right to agree to alternatives such as the staff concerned taking accrued time in lieu, or taking the time as part of their annual leave. Enforcing that they take the time as annual leave, presents problems which may not be worth the effort.
Some staff may well have dependants, children or elderly relatives for example, and the weather may force a change in normal arrangements in this case.
It is normal for time off to be allowed in such situations, but this is without pay. Should the situation persist for a longer period of time, then you can negotiate how this longer period is treated, for example as time against annual leave.
However, if it is your workplace which cannot open because of bad weather, then the situation is quite different and your employees will be entitled to full pay, on the provision that they are able to reach their place of work.
Other options are open, for instance laying staff off at nil pay, but this should have been written into their contract, to do so otherwise, would leave you open to being taken to an Employment Tribunal.
The information above is provided as guidance and we recommend that relevant professional advice be taken before decisions are taken.
The Graham Agency, keeping you informed.