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.


Dementia Friends image

Dementia Friends

Maples Solicitors are proud to announce that they have now joined to become Dementia Friends which is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative.

The private client department of Maples Solicitors prepare Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney on a regular basis and this often involves dealing with clients who are suffering from dementia. The private client team pride themselves on spending as much time as is necessary to assist all of their clients, but those suffering from dementia often require additional assistance and time to ensure that they have fully understood the legal documentation that they are creating. The private client department are regularly complimented on the way they deal with such clients, whether this be explaining things to them in a clear and uncomplicated manner, spending time with them or putting them at ease.

It is a misconception that anyone suffering from dementia cannot make a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney. Only if someone lacks sufficient mental capacity are they unable to make such a document. It is therefore vitally important upon any diagnosis of dementia that legal advice is taken as soon as possible to make sure that your affairs are in order so that it is easier for your family to deal with your affairs if you are unable to do so yourself.

To become Dementia Friends, Maples Solicitors have pledged to develop their understanding of dementia and continue assisting clients suffering from dementia with their legal affairs in a respectful, friendly and efficient way that is not daunting making the process as easy as possible.

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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"

James Turner BA

James Turner was extremely helpful with our buying process. Everything went smoothly. We are very happy with the level of professionalism demonstrated by the office. Highly recommended solicitors. Will definitely do business with them again.

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 GCILEx

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.

Donna Sandison FCILEx

Donna has been helpful and professional every step of the way during the process. Always on hand to answer any queries and totally professional and friendly at all times.