As an employer, you may be wondering if it’s legal to force your employees to come to work even when bad weather strikes.

This is an important question and one that has become increasingly relevant as extreme weather events have become more frequent in recent years.

The answer is not necessarily straightforward, but there are some guidelines that can help you make sure you’re complying with employment law.

What if commuting is affected?

Getting to and from work is typically the responsibility of your staff.

If adverse weather conditions mean your employees can’t get to work, there is no automatic legal right to pay them.

However, you may offer pay in these situations if you wish to, but this needs to be outlined in the employee’s contract.

Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • Can the employee work from home?
  • Can they access alternative travel?
  • Does any urgent work need covering?

Additionally, you may offer a level flexibility by allowing them to come in later than they usually would, making up the time they have lost, swapping shifts with someone else, or taking the time off as paid holiday.

What if the weather affects someone who drives as part of their job?

In some lines of work, employees may need to drive on a regular basis, such as those operating as delivery drivers.

If the weather is unsafe, you must speak to them about alternative options for working, as well as follow travel advice.

It is important that you do a health and safety risk assessment to determine whether it is safe for the person in question to carry out their job.

Ultimately, the safety and wellbeing of your staff must be your top priority in these situations.

Need advice? Let’s chat.