Attendance at Work During Adverse Weather Conditions

With snow and freezing conditions forecast for next few days many employees will have difficulty in traveling to work which impacts on businesses being able to operate. A common sense approach in a documented policy is required by employers to ensure that the safety of employees is balanced against business needs.

Here are some pointers on what should be contained in an adverse weather policy. This will be particularly relevant in certain sectors where non attendance at work may be detrimental to services continuing to be provided, e.g. child care, retail, medical provision etc.

  • A statement regarding the importance of attendance at work to ensure continuity of services;
  • A requirement to consider alternatives modes of transport to get to work including employer provided transport;
  • The need to report non attendance as early as possible or to keep an employer informed about problems attending work due to bad weather; and
  • The payment arrangements that will apply in respect of non attendance or lates due to bad weather.

It is equally important that employers review and monitor weather conditions in the interests of the health and safety of their employees and this must always be balanced against business and operational needs. A reasonable approach needs to be taken with allowing employees to leave early for example subject to weather conditions and distance that employees travel to and from work.

Subject to industry sector employers should also consider whether it is necessary for employees to attend at their normal place of work and whether they may be able to work from home or other locations for the duration of the bad weather if it is unsafe to travel to work.

Normally, an employer will not be required to pay an employee who does not attend work during adverse weather conditions when the business remains open or even when it is forced to close e.g. due to flooding but again a reasonable approach should be taken to minimise where possible the impact on employees and consideration should be given to whether employees may be able to work up lost time or whether they can take annual leave for any days that they are unable to attend work.

As with all work place matters a clear policy that outlines expectations and requirements that are relevant to each specific workplace will help avoid confusion and ensure that business needs can continue to be met. If you require any information about putting in place relevant HR Policies in your workplace, please email for further information.