My employees can’t get into work due to the snow – do I have to pay them?

The short answer is “No”. There is no legal right to be paid for not working! However, you may want to offer the following options:

  • that they use their holiday entitlement instead
  • that they work from home – but this obviously will only work if they have remote access to your servers and have a job that is possible to do from home. A receptionist can hardly greet visitors from her living room (although she could probably answer the phones)
  • have it as unpaid leave.

Depending on the situation, you would not normally start a disciplinary process because of the absence. However what if everyone else has made it in even with some snow? Do they live in the back of beyond? You might want to question them as to why exactly only they aren’t able to be in the office.

One of my clients had the situation of not snow, but an employee’s broken car “which I can’t afford to get fixed”. So the employee wanted to work for the next two weeks from home, when most of her work activities required her to be in the office. As she was leaving anyway, we then agreed with her that she would finish her employment early and move on to her next job. Employees often find a way to return to work very quickly once they realize they aren’t being paid.

To recap, employees only get paid (i.e. have a legal right to be paid) for absence if:

  • it is approved holiday absence,
  • sickness absence (SSP minimum),
  • maternity leave, or
  • paternity leave.

 “Gap HR Services delivers the “Ronseal Appeal” – they do exactly what they say on the tin – prevent issues and give you peace of mind!” Terran Churcher, Finance Director, Codegate Ltd

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