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Weather Related Absenteeism - Does The Employee Get Paid?

Published 10 Jun 2013

(Applies in Floods, Snowbound Conditions, Pandemics, Earthquakes and the like)

Where Employees are unable to attend work for reasons outside their control - such as the snowbound Employees this week - Employers have several options available.

The first step to take is to refer to the employment agreement which may refer to circumstances outside the control of the Employer and the Employee. Employers are looking for clauses which may obligate them to pay Employees under such circumstances.

The key to special circumstances of this nature is in open, frank and direct consultation but — assuming the employment agreement is silent on what should happen — the following guidelines will assist.

  • Employees who cannot turn up for work cannot expect to be paid;
  • Employees who can turn up for work but the workplace is closed by the Employer can expect to be paid;
Wages are normally payable if the Employee is ready and willing to perform work.

Employees and Employers can agree to alternative options.

Options, such as annual holidays or unpaid leave, will be available in accordance with the employment agreement and related workplace policies.

An Employee can also take sick leave if they, their partner, or their dependents are sick and the Employee has sick leave available. However, an Employee cannot take sick leave if neither they, their partner nor their dependents are sick.

An Employer can also require an Employee to take annual holidays if the both parties cannot reach agreement as to when the leave or holiday will be taken, however the Employee must be given at least 14 days' notice. This only applies to annual holidays that the Employee is entitled to on each anniversary of the date they commenced employment.

If the Employee refuses to take annual holidays on less than 14 days' notice they cannot be required. Where practicable, Employers and Employees can also agree to alternative work arrangements, such as working from home.

Before cancelling normal payment for the time in question please contact Employers Assistance (0800 15 8000).

Employers Assistance's employment agreement templates contain a section covering these circumstances. This makes the payment rules clear cut should the situation arise.  
Employer Support members please see the 'Agreements Online' section of the Toolbox, non members may wish to consider purchasing the Employment Contracts Creator software.