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What are your rights at work on a snow day?

PUBLISHED: 08:19 28 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:37 28 February 2018

Norwich wakes up to a covering of snow. A view over the city from Britannia Road, on Mousehold Heath.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich wakes up to a covering of snow. A view over the city from Britannia Road, on Mousehold Heath. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

For children, a snow day is still the winter dream – but when snow or bad weather disrupts your work, what are your rights?

The conciliation service Acas says employees are not automatically entitled to be paid if they cannot get to work – but that does not mean they will necessarily lose out.

Nikki Butterworth, associate at Howes Percival in Norwich, said communicating adverse weather policies to staff should be paramount for employers.

“Employers need to be prepared for extreme weather conditions and the fact that some people may not be able to come into work and what they are going to do in those circumstances,” she said.

So what are my options?

Both Acas and government advice website Gov.uk suggest there’s room for you and your boss to be flexible and make arrangements you are both happy with.

For example, your employer could agree to you making up the time at a later date, working from home, or working from another office you can reach more easily.

Some employees have provision in their contracts that they will still be paid if they cannot come to work or are late because of bad weather.

If there’s travel disruption, Gov.uk says your employer can ask you to take paid holiday – but they must give double the length of time they want you to take in leave. So for one day’s annual leave, they would need to give you two days’ notice.

What if my workplace is closed?

If your workplace is closed you are entitled to pay – and your employer cannot require you to take the time as annual leave. However, if it’s possible for you to work from home or another workplace, you will probably be expected to do so.

What if my child’s school is closed?

Solicitors advise that if bad weather means your child’s school or nursery is closed, this is classed as an “emergency” and you can take a “reasonable amount” of unpaid time off – this is really time to make alternative arrangements for their care than to look after them, but many employers can be flexible and allow any of the alternative arrangements suggested above.

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