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Flooding – Advice for Employers

Wettest ever February and more flood warnings remain – Advice for Employers

The Stats

A total of 75 flood warnings are still in place for England and Wales.

The Met Office confirmed last month was the wettest February on record.

The UK averaged 209.1mm of rain last month. England had 154.9mm, Wales, 288.4mm, Scotland 275.6mm and Northern Ireland 222.7mm.

A Met Office map shows that some areas got as much as 350-400% of their normal February rain.

From storm Ciara at the start of February to storm Jorge during the last weekend of February, it’s essential for businesses to understand and prepare to ensure business continuity and employees understand the effects to them.

Employers should be sympathetic and supportive to employees, particularly for the one off occasional incident. However, the reality is this is likely to be a reoccurring issue affecting many employees, so it is important for companies to have a thoroughly thought out policy for such absences.

There is no automatic legal right for an employee to be paid for time they have missed due to travel disruption or bad weather.

However, there are exceptions, including if employer-provided transport has been cancelled because of bad weather or travel disruption, and an employee was otherwise ready, willing and available to work. In addition, employers should take extra care for vulnerable workers, such as pregnant employees. If a risk cannot be avoided or removed from the workplace, such as an icy car park, some workers may have to be sent home to protect their health, usually on full pay.

Business Continuity

Devising your own business continuity plan(s) for adverse weather can be commercially beneficial as it can enable employees to carry on working. Fairness and consistency should underpin any business considerations.

Potential options for adverse weather business continuity:

  • Homeworking – are employees able to work from home on an ad-hoc basis? Who are these employees? Have they got the necessary equipment?
  • Alternative locations – do you have any other sites employees can access and work from? Are these locations safe for employees to work from? Is the appropriate equipment available?
  • Making up time – has the absence created a backlog of work? Could this work be completed through the employee starting earlier/finishing later?
  • Taking annual leave – agreeing for employees to take time off as paid annual leave instead of unpaid leave ensures they do not lose pay.

Where possible employers should provide clarity to employees and help prevent confusion by planning ahead. Having a bad weather or travel disruption policy and circulating it again when potential adverse weather forecast. The policy could include:

  • contact arrangements
  • alternative arrangements
  • what will happen with pay if the employee is unable to work.

If you would like further guidance or support on this matter or require advice on other people management matters please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at info@cloverhr.co.uk ©️ Copyright Clover HR

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