It’s here. The ‘Beast from the East’ has started to make its way across the UK.

People are a bit worried, to say the least. Supplies of bread and milk are running low at all major retailers (not really, but I’m sure it’s coming at some point), sales of hot water bottles have soared by 378% (possibly exaggeration) and there are mutters of ‘cold snaps’ behind every scarf-muffled conversation.

Although it’s easy to joke, when extreme weather hits it can be incredibly disruptive – especially if you need to get to work.

So what are your rights when the snow hits the fan?

I can’t get to work

When the weather hits, it’s your responsibility as an employee to make it into work.

Your normal way of travel – for example, if you drive -  may well be disrupted or inaccessible, but you should make sure that you look at all options before calling in, including public transport.

If you don’t make it in, your employer is not obliged to pay you and you can be asked to take the day as either annual leave or unpaid.

I’ve been asked to work from home

If you have the equipment you need to work from home, it’s reasonable for your employer to ask this of you. You might also be asked to work in a more accessible location (depending on the weather of course!).

My childcare arrangements are cancelled

In bad weather, schools and nurseries may choose to close for the safety of pupils and staff.

Employees are entitled to ‘dependents leave’ which is reasonable unpaid time off to deal with an unforeseen emergency; such as a school closure.  

You must tell your employer as soon as possible the reason for the absence and how long you expect to be absent.

My office / workplace is closed

If your office has been closed and you can’t work from home, you shouldn’t be asked to take annual leave.

Get the sledge out – it’s a snow day!

You should always check your contract and employee handbook for any guidance on extreme weather – if you’ve got any questions, contact your HR team for more information.

Emily Meredith
HR Manager - Acorn Recruitment

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