Winter Weather and Travel Disruption

12th January 2016
Winter Weather and Travel Disruption image

Winter Weather and Travel Disruption

Introduction

Whether its heavy snowfall, severe floodings and/or gale force winds, it is that time of year when the weather can cause chaos. Hence a clear policy for such circumstances can ensure that the staff know exactly what is expected of them and help minimise the disruption to your business.

Business Continuity Policy

Such a policy may set out the arrangements in adverse weather conditions to ensure so far as possible the continuity of the business. It could include provisions on when the business may have to close and what happens in such circumstances. It can include provisions on notifying staff of alternatively arrangements such as working from home, working at an alternative place or alternative hours of work and it should also give guidance to staff as to the expectations as to their attendance and the consequences thereof.

Paying staff who cannot get to work

Ordinarily staff are obliged to attend for work unless they are sick, on holiday or on maternity leave etc. Therefore the onus or starting point is that a member of staff should get to work, even in extreme weather conditions. Hence if the office is open and a member of staff is “snowed in”, the employer can treat the absence as unauthorised and refuse to pay for this time. However this approach is not necessarily good for staff morale and harmony and staff should not be pressured into risking their safety. If someone genuinely cannot make it in to work due to the weather then your business should consider the following amongst other things:-

(i) Paying the employee but insisting that the time is made up at a later date;

(ii) Agreeing that the employee can take the time off as part of paid annual leave; or

(iii)Agreeing a limited number of days per year, e.g. 3 maximum, when the employee will be paid in full for failing to attend to work due to emergencies including adverse weather (provided of course that you are satisfied that the employee either made a genuine effort to attend or the weather was simply too bad to risk travelling).

You will need to be careful in considering what to do here, as a policy that involves paying everyone may aggrieve those members of staff who did make the effort and got to work.

School Closures

If a school is closed due to the weather , then if this happened with little or no notice and alternative childcare arrangements cannot be made then this could in effect constitute an emergency giving employees a statutory right to a limited period of time off (albeit unpaid). A clear policy for such matters is likely to avoid unfairness and disagreement in the workplace.

Disciplinary Action

If you believe that an employee could have made it to work but has chosen not to then this could be a matter for a disciplinary procedure and possible disciplinary sanction. If there are genuine grounds for the employee failing to come into work then it may be helpful that
once the initial weather conditions have subsided sufficiently that you let all staff know by telephone, email etc that it is safe for them to return to work in order to reduce the risk of disciplinary concerns as this will usually prompt staff in to returning to the office.

If you need advice either as an employer or as an employee in respect of winter weather, travel disruption and attendance at work then please contact our head of employment law Daven Naghen on 01775 722261 or email daven.naghen@maplessolicitors.com or visit our offices or arrange an appointment at our offices at 23 New Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE11 1DH.


How Banks are Cashing in on Wills image

How Banks are Cashing in on Wills

Recent headlines have reported how banks are now cashing in on Wills.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, banks offered customers low cost Wills (or sometimes even free Wills) but the small print allowed the bank to charge extortionate rates to act as Executors. It is reported that banks are expecting billions of pounds of revenue from their Will writing services and administering estates and in some cases their fees have been over £12,000 to administer an estate as they look to charge a fixed fee PLUS a percentage of the deceased’s wealth.

If you or a loved one has made a Will through a bank we would urge you to check who you have appointed as Executors and check any small print which you may have signed. If you are unsure then please speak with one of our lawyers in the Wills and Probate team who can look at your existing Will with you. It may be appropriate to make a new Will which revokes any previous Will you have made which could save your family thousands of pounds when your estate needs to be administered.

In the majority of cases, when someone has passed away we can provide the family with a quote of how much the legal fees will be so that there are no nasty surprises once the administration is complete.

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Testimonials

Gemma Mayer LLB

"I would highly recommend Maples Solicitors, especially Gemma Mayer, for any conveyancing work. The level of support and professionalism was excellent at all times. I also felt if I needed to ask or clarify anything that it was not an issue. Buying and selling a house is stressful enough, but Gemma helped me through it step by step."

Anita Toal LLB BA

"I think you are brilliant. You can use my comments above. You are efficient, friendly and quite clearly very good at what you do. Mainly you don’t leave people hanging around too long for." "So easy to talk to her and she understood what I wanted. She put me at ease and I cant thank her enough"

Daven Naghen LLB

"Daven provided an excellent service, from attending the first interview with me to the final court appearance. He filled me full of confidence that he would defend me to which he did and come out with an excellent outcome in view of my position that I had put myself in."

Faye Blair LLB

Faye was excellent, sensitive and acted very well to the time constraints we faced. Great service and dealt with compassion at such sad times made the process less painful very professional.

Jamie Dobbs ACILEx

Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

Mike Pepper MA

Mike Pepper gave us excellent advice. He was always most helpful and accommodating giving lucid explanations every step of the way. Thank you Mike.

Claire Smith FCILEx

Claire Smith has been amazing in every way. I highly recommend her and I am so grateful for all her help. She’s professional on all levels, reliable, extremely organised and I will be recommending her to everyone. I’m very lucky to have had her representing me and I can’t thank her enough. She is an asset to Maples. Thanks so much Claire!