Mar 1

It’s snowing….can I refuse to go to work?

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It looks stunning!! But the heavy snow affecting large swathes of the UK is making it tough for many people to get to work.

What are your rights if you can’t make it into work?

Will I still get paid?

In most cases you’re not automatically entitled to pay if you are unable to get to work because of travel disruption or bad weather. But, if your employer normally provides your travel to work and this has been cancelled because of the bad weather then you should still be paid.

Some jobs may also have a specific clause written into their contracts, or have a collective agreement in place, that an employer will pay you if you cannot get to work due to circumstances beyond your control.

Some employers might also make discretionary, informal arrangements, like allowing you to work from home or agreeing that you will be paid but you need to make up the missed time at a later date. But it is important to remember they are not obliged to do this.

Can my employer force me to take a day off as holiday?

Yes your employer can ask you to take a day of paid holiday but only if they give you sufficient warning. The law states that you must be given a warning period of “at least” double the length of annual leave which you are being asked to take.

So, if your employer wants you to take one day’s annual leave, for example, they would need to give you two days’ notice.

What if my workplace is closed?

In these circumstances, you are entitled to be paid and your employer cannot require you to take the time as annual leave.

However, your employer can still ask you to work from home, or ask you to go to another workplace that is open if the business has one.

My child’s school is closed due to snow, can I take the day off?

Employees have the right to take unpaid time off to deal with emergency situations for their children or other dependents and a school being shut at short notice is likely to be considered an emergency.

Strictly, the day would be unpaid but not all employers would take this approach. It maybe that you can work from home. It maybe that you agree to take the day as annual leave so you do not miss out on pay.

My office is freezing – can I go home?

A minimum temperature of 16C is recommended for offices where the work is deskbound and fairly sedentary. If the work requires physical effort, the minimum recommended temperature is 13C.

These temperatures are not a legal requirement but your employer has a duty to provide a “reasonable” temperature in the workplace.

If low temperatures make it unsafe for workers, then you should be allowed to wear warmer clothing, take extra breaks to make hot drinks and also be allowed to bring in extra heating options such as portable heaters.

However, if you’re vulnerable in any way, for example are pregnant, then you may be sent home to protect your health, and this would usually be on full pay.

Call me on 07917 878384 or email me nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk if you need help!