It’s snow day for working!

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UK under the snowWith 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.

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7 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. It is amazing how many companies are still not geared up for staff to work at home in case of bad weather, power cuts or other dispruptions. In this new internet age most office staff can work from home simply and easily.

  2. In response to Ian.

    Office staff working from home is not simple or easy though if implimented correctly it will feel that way to the worker.
    The cost of the secure infrastructure required is often prohibitive when combined with the need to supply hardware and connectivity for the workers involved.
    Afterall the worker shouldn’t have to use their own equipment (nor should be assumed to have it) for work purposes.

    You have underestimated a complex and costly scenario.

    Regarding the article.
    There is a worrying assumption by some employers that if you can get to work on a day when it’s snowing you must be able to make it any subsequent days. Of course this is rubbish because subsequent freezing temperatures are likely to make the roads even more treacherous even if the gritters have done their work.

    Sadly many companies are unsuccessful at consistantly and fairly dealing with staff in situations like this. Hopefully most of us are not in one of them.

  3. I certainly don’t agree with Brenda Barber’s comments relatig to “scrooge bosses docking pay”. The reason for someone genuinely not being able to get to work due to the weather is actually neither the employees nor the employers fault. Therefore perhaps a fairer compromise of how employees and employers work together in such circumstances should be made i.e. where employees who cannot work from home are offered the choice to use a holiday or maybe half days pay, its not rocket science!

    An even better suggestion might be that the country is better prepared for such weather!!!

  4. Response to IT worker:

    I think IT should Implement Consistently!

  5. Employers employ people to get results that Employers get paid for. They are not a charity.

    If an employee chooses to live in an isolated or extended travel area & has difficulty getting to work, that is their choice. If they choose to live closer to work and can get in that is their reward. Why pay a non attender & an attender the same? There is middle ground naturally, but first up should not be employers cost.

    TUC blow-harding again with emotive rubbish rather than constructive dialogue.

  6. Not all industries have the ability to work from home – Hospitality. Hotels are relied upon during a time by those who are stranded. Hotels can’t afford not to have staff. Whilst we encourage staff to take holiday or accrued lieu days if they can’t make it in. Inorder to keep the operation running and provide service to paying guests we try assist with accommodation – especially for staff who are needed to work late into the night or early breakfast shift.

  7. I worked for a company where you were paid if you couldnt make it in due to adverse weather conditions. On such days we had around 10% turn out over a 5 yr period; the company concerned decided to change the policy saying that you would have to take the time as unpaid or take holiday. attendence on adverse weather days rose to over 90%. Strange how much easier it is to get into work if you might lose out.

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