As temperatures drop, the snow and ice are already causing travel disruption in certain parts of the UK, making it difficult for some employees to get to work.

Unforeseen circumstances that affect your employees’ journey to work, such as weather disruption, can, and do arise.

But as an employer, what are you obliged to do in regard to pay? Here, we consider the factors.

In most cases, you, as an employer, are not obliged to pay staff if they cannot get to work due to bad weather.

However, it’s not necessarily so straight forward, and there are factors you should consider.

Paying workers when the employer decides to close

If the workplace is closed as a result of bad weather at the decision of the business owner, you must still pay staff, and you cannot force them to take the time as annual leave.

Employees who can’t get into work due to severe weather conditions

You don’t have to pay employees who are unable to attend work due to the snow and icy conditions. However, many employers will wish to maintain their businesses running as smoothly as possible and where staff have the facility to work from home or work in another location, for example with the help of a cloud-based system (our group company, Infuse Technology, can help implement this!), then this will facilitate continued business operations.

Alternatively, employers may wish to allow their employees to take annual leave or you may decide to pay them and ask employees to make up lost time at a later date.  Employees, however, may not be forced to take annual leave, as employers are not allowed to impose holidays without the employee’s consent.

Paying workers when unexpected issues arise

For employees with dependants, there are rights allowing them to take unpaid time off in emergency situations, which include school closures or cancelled care arrangements, for example. Again, as an employer it is at your discretion if you decide to pay employees in such scenarios.

Introducing an adverse weather policy that sets out your approach to such circumstances so employees know what is expected of them will avoid confusion when snowfall does arrive.

If you have any concerns about your responsibilities as an employer in unforeseen circumstances, such as bad weather, please get in touch with our dedicated HR consultancy division today.