The Team

Bad weather’s preventing me getting to work. How does this affect my employment?
01/02/2019
Bad weather’s preventing me getting to work.  How does this affect my employment?

The recent inclement weather with the Met Office issuing weather warnings, schools closing, public transport disrupted and Police Scotland advising road users to stay at home unless their journey is essential has led to people asking about their rights if they can’t get to your place of work.
 

If you can’t get to your place of work, it is vitally important you inform your employer of the circumstances preventing you from getting there.
 

Will I still get paid?
 

You are not entitled to automatically receive your pay if you can’t attend work because weather conditions make it impossible to get there.
 

The first thing you should do is check your contract of employment. In some cases, there will be specific clauses dealing with this or there will be a collective agreement negotiated by your union that mean you will still receive your pay if you can’t get to your place of work due to circumstances outwith your control. If you don’t have such clauses, then the likelihood is that you have no contractual right to receive your pay if you fail to attend your place of work.
 

However, if your employer provides the transport to take you to your place of work and that transport isn’t available, you will be entitled to be paid because it’s not your fault that you can’t get to your workplace.
 

You may also be able to work from home and thus be paid for the day even though you didn’t make it into your place of work.
 

What happens if my employer closes my workplace?
 

If your employer closes your workplace due to weather, you must still be paid - and your employer cannot ask you to take the day off as part of your annual leave. However, your employer can ask you to work from home or work from another branch or location of its business if it has one.
 

If your employer wishes you to take time off as annual leave, it must give you at least twice the amount of notice as the amount of time it’s asking you to take as annual leave. For instance, if it wants you to take two days off as part of your annual leave, it must give you four days’ notice of that.
 

What happens if the school is closed and I have to stay at home to watch my children?
 

Employers cannot reprimand you in these circumstances. Employees are entitled to unpaid leave to deal with emergency situations for their children or other dependents – and the closure of a school on short-notice is likely to be considered as an emergency.
 

Sometimes, more generous employers will pay you for this day off, but that is completely discretionary – they can’t be compelled to pay you for your time off in those circumstances.
 

You can find out more information on this subject from the ACAS website by clicking here.