Snowy conditions are causing havoc – not least with your work force. But where do you stand if your employees are failing to turn up to work as a result? Gaynor Beckett, expert in employment law specialising in Contract, and Policies and Procedures at Brilliant Law (www.brilliantlaw.com) outlines where you stand legally...
It’s unlawful to make a deduction from your worker’s wages – unless the deduction is in their contract and the worker has been notified in writing. As this is a rare occurance, you need to decide whether there is a contractual right to be paid if they fail to turn up.
Again this is rarely stated in a contract. Instead most contracts revert to the ideal of consideration: has the employee considered how they work remotely? Or make up the time?
If your employee can show the steps they’ve put in place to maintain their work commitments, you have no legal right to stop payment or insist they make the journey. However we would advise you push them to prove how they’ve fulfilled their role, especially in this age of digital communications where remote working is feasible.
1. Looking ahead we would advising putting in place practical steps to avoid uncertainty in the future.
2. Consider including a clause in employment contracts to specifically authorise deductions from wages if this is the approach the employer wishes to take.
3. Implement a policy setting out how the employer will deal with adverse weather and other major travel disruptions.
4. Publicise the policy internally before any likely period of travel disruption, and ensure that all staff and managers are aware of their responsibilities.
5. Consider allowing employees to work from home (if possible), or from an alternative workplace (if available).
6. Decide whether employees will be paid if they cannot make it to work, and ensure any guidance is applied consistently.
7. Consider the employee relations angle. Deducting pay may harm morale, but paying absent employees may also lead to resentment by those who struggle in, unless they feel their efforts have been recognised in some way.
8. Employers should always remember their strict legal health & safety obligations. If a business cannot be run safely, consider closing it and sending employees home.