With snow and ice already covering much of the UK and weather reports suggesting that the snowstorms are moving south, the TUC has issued advice for workers and their employers on what to do when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
While workers should make every reasonable effort to get into work, the TUC says that employees shouldn’t attempt to travel if it’s not safe to do so, particularly if they live in isolated areas.
With the snow causing problems on the UK’s transport network, the TUC says that it makes sense for employers to allow staff who are able to do so to work from home rather than struggle with a lengthy commute to work.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘Across the country, people are braving the elements to get into work. But with the snow still falling and the cold and icy weather set to stay with us for a good few days to come, we need a sensible approach to getting into work. Employers and workers must keep each other informed as to whether it’s safe, or even possible, to commute to and from work.
‘For many the bad weather and lack of public transport have already made their commute impossible, but many employers will have ‘bad weather’ policies in place so staff are clear as to what is expected of them.
‘Scrooge bosses who dock pay and take away holiday are needlessly adding to their business woes by creating resentment amongst staff. Workers who have been prevented from getting to work despite their best efforts should not have to foot the bill for the bad weather conditions.’
The severe weather conditions affecting much of Britain need not mean major problems for employers if they apply common sense, the CIPD has warned.
Rebecca Clake, CIPD organisation and resourcing adviser, said: “Employers need to carefully consider opportunities and options available if the weather conditions do stop employees making it in. Many companies that have put in place the technology and management practices that allow homeworking reap the benefits at a time like this.
“The crude millions-of-pounds estimates of the cost to the economy of bad weather often don’t take into account the millions of motivated workers who will be working remotely – or if access to emails is not possible, using the time to focus on planning or to reflecting on work processes and practices.”
Staff that genuinely cannot make it into work and who have jobs that cannot be done remotely could be give special leave. They could be required to take annual leave or operations could be shut down altogether, she added.