Winter Work Woes

snow From 06/01/10:

Employers may be legally entitled to dock workers' pay if they stay at home because of snow and extreme weather, but such a course of action can be risky and cause resentment, according to guidance from Pinsent Masons.

[E]mployees are under a legal obligation to get to work and companies could withhold pay from those that stay at home because of the weather or ask them to make up the time later. But this is not necessarily the wisest course of action, the guidance said.

"Employees have statutory protection against an unauthorised deduction being made from their wages without their consent and deducting pay could potentially be challenged as unlawful under these provisions," said advice to employers produced by employment law specialists at the firm.

"You should therefore assess whether not paying employees would be in the best interests of your business. It may be that the financial burden to the business of paying staff in these circumstances is outweighed by the benefits that such a gesture would have on staff morale and productivity in the long run – especially if the snowfall is particularly heavy and it is impossible to get into the office," it said.

The heavy snowfall overnight made my journey into work this morning an absolute non-starter.  Our little cul-de-sac was buried under a good 3-4 inches, none of which had been treated of course and very few cars moved all day.  Interestingly, the few that did try their luck early on, slithered back (rather uneasily) shortly thereafter.

We walked out to the main road about 7.10 this morning (GF had to head in early, hence our ungodly hour of departure) and it looked an absolute ice/snow rink.  We were already hearing from the news that the buses and trains in our area had been cancelled, schools had been closed (seemingly without exception) and well, it was all a bit of a mess out there.

As it was, I worked from home all day (and been quite productive as it happens).

I really need to head into the office tomorrow so I’m going to make a herculean effort to make it in.  Quite where this deluge of snow and winter nastiness leaves my planned trip to London on Friday is anyone’s guess.


  1. A number of people didn't turn up, or were late, yesterday. I was there before 8am. ;D The company announced that those people won't lose their pay for missed time. Ugh! Why did I bother coming in?! Unfair.

  2. I got in fine as usual I was there at 7.30am although my first train was cancelled.

    Everyone else was late or didn't come in. If we don't come in, we've got to take it out of our holiday. So that makes people come in, it is also rather dangerous. Some people forced themselves to come so they wouldn't lose out - some people walked for over an hour as there was no buses, some people drove and abandoned their cars and some people kept ploughing on in their cars for hours just so they could get within a reasonable walking distance of our office.

  3. The company I work for is very safety orientated (no jackets on backs of chairs, holding handrails on stairs (ESSENTIAL), not carrying more than 4 cups of tea/coffe (in a holder and with lids), taking one stair at a time, blocking off entire corridors whilst changing a lightbulb (also requires two electricians wearing full PPE and using step ladders) and I could go on). However, "it's too dangerous to get into work" is not an excuse not to make it in and employees must make anytime missed up!

  4. My employer seems to be the best, then. ;D

  5. Common sense would be wise here, if the weather is bad - employers should do the right thing. But unfortunately many company's reflect upon their own greed & try not to cut losses to which places their employees @ considerable risk trying to make it in...


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