The Importance of Implementing an Adverse Weather Policy

January 23, 2017, By

From time to time severe weather conditions (such as heavy snow and ice) can prevent employees from travelling in to work due to road closures and public transport cancellations. Consequently, employers are advised to develop a strategy for dealing with such scenarios and to implement an ‘adverse weather’ policy.

Should employees be paid if they cannot attend work due to adverse weather?

One of the key issues to consider when an employee is unable to attend work due to adverse weather conditions is whether or not they should still be paid. It is always advisable to have a clear policy in place to avoid any ambiguity, but the general position in such situations is that wages are not payable unless the employee has provided consideration by actually performing work or by being ready and willing to actually perform work. Employers should only withhold one day’s pay per day of absence.

Are there other alternatives?

If employees are unable to attend work due to adverse weather then they should be asked to express a preference as to which of the following they would prefer:

  1. Paid annual leave: Employers can offer employees the opportunity to take the absence as paid annual leave if they have sufficient accrued but untaken holidays.
  2. Making up the lost hours: Employees who do not wish to take paid or unpaid leave may be asked to make up the hours on other days.
  3. Time off for dependents: Employees do have the right to take ‘reasonable’ amounts of time off because of unexpected disruptions. Adverse weather can lead to schools or nurseries being forced to close and as a result the employee may have to take time off to look after their dependent(s). Employers cannot force the employee to use up their annual leave entitlement for doing so and cannot subject them to any detriment as a result of exercising this right.

However, it should be made clear to the employee that the final decision will be at the sole discretion of the employer.

Free Adverse Weather Policy

To ensure that your business is adequately protected we are offering our valued clients a free copy of our adverse weather policy.

If you would like to obtain your free copy of the policy then please email Tracey Guest at Please include ‘Free Adverse Weather Policy’ in the subject line.