Being a Northern company, the storm didn’t particularly trouble our daily routines; we could have left our flat caps at home because other than a little rain -“now’t happened”.
Unfortunately, further south people were significantly more affected by the weather. No doubt many were confronted with school closures or transport cancellations. The subject reminded me of a blog written by Dataplan 3 years ago when severe snowfall caused major issues for employers when employees could not get in to work and where employers stand in having to pay them for an albeit unavoidable absence.
There is no real legal obligation to pay an employee in these circumstances. Unless such an agreement was written into employment contracts or could be perceived as so, all absence can be universally treat as grounds for non-payments.
Although this is a general consensus, such actions will often cause issues between employee and employer and some companies will pay such days as normal to avoid frictions and confrontation.
However, if a company closes due damage to the building or power etc. there is a legal obligation to pay employees. When closing under such circumstances it is effectively a temporary layoff for employees and full pay is then due.
Where possible, when severe weather conditions are anticipated, it may be a viable option to allow employees to work from home. This is becoming an increasingly available option to employers with the constant advancements in technology and accessibility.
Reviewing contracts is also a good opportunity to clarify certain issues and clauses so both the employer and employee know where they stand with severe weather issues.