With the winter chills on the way many employers are wondering what to do once the snow and ice keep business at bay and paychecks still need to be made. Now is the perfect time to take a look at your “winter contingency” to keep your business in progress till warm weather comes again.
1- The Big Question “To pay or not to pay?”
If your staff is not able to show up to work due to adverse weather conditions, you may not be sure how to deal with the subsequent situations. According to the law you are not obligated to pay a employee for work they didn’t’ do, as it could be the employees in breach of contract.
Nevertheless, there are certain statutory protection for employees protecting them from deductions being made to their expected pay. If you have no rights in your contract stating that you can deduct pay, and your employee doesn’t consent, you could have a serious legal situation on your hands.
If your employee has to take time off to keep an eye on their children who can’t attend school, for example. They are entitled to a dependant’s unpaid leave. This protects your employees from discrimination. But remember that there is no legal requirement for paying employees for work they didn’t do. But, if you were to pay your staff anyway, you could boost the morale and possibly productivity as well.
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Another idea is to offer to pay them in return for overtime hours they will make up over an extended period of time, you could also offer to pay them in exchange for time out of their paid leave or holiday entitlement. Just remember that you can’t take forcibly take leave out of their paid vacations without employee consent.
However you choose to handle this situation, make sure you conduct your arrangements amicably and hospitably. Make sure your approach to these instances are consistent and your communications clear to all employees equally. Here are some great extra tips from PSR Solutions.
If your employees have given you no notification concerning taking time off, this can be treated as an unauthorized leave of absence and categorically discounted from pay.
2- The option of closing your business
If you choose to close your business over the bad weather for any period of time, any employees who were expecting employment during this time will need to receive their payment in full.
By the same measure, if you allow your employees to take time off due to poor weather you should also provide payment in full and not be expected to make up this time in over time.
3- What about employees who do make it to work on time?
It is not always the best to dish out rewards for those employees who do make it in to work on time, but it is important for morale to express your gratitude to them in so many words and remind them to be especially safe when traveling back to their homes.
You could allow them to leave work early to avoid any worse weather condition. Home working is another option made possible these days. If you have provided your workers with remote IT access, this could be an option for you. Read more about remote IT access and managing your employees from home.
It is important to be in constant communication with workers at home. They should also know how this arrangement will work and how they will be monitored. Again clear communications are important here
4- Creating a ‘bad weather’ contingency plan.
Because the occurrence of bad weather is not easily predicted and can disrupt the smooth business operations, it may be a good idea to put together a bad weather policy. This plan should include:
- Payment plans and options for employees who can’t make it to work.
- What type of work can be carried out from the convenience of home and what IT support would be necessary for this.
- What is expected from your staff — i.e. safety is number one priority, but they should make an effort to show up to work in reasonable conditions.
- Who your employees should contact in the event weather conditions are obstructing their arrival or who they can notify if they must work from home.
- If the weather is so bad that the premises can’t even be accessed, who should be notified.
This “bad weather” contingency plan should be a major part of the continuity plan that keeps your business up and running.