Struggling to get to work because of the snow?

If I can’t get to work because of the snow, will it reduce my pay?

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first – if your workplace is open and you can’t get in, your employer doesn’t necessarily have to pay you, according to workplace relations body the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). So you may be forced to take unpaid leave.

If you’re unable to get to work, the best thing is try to come to an alternative agreement with your employer, such as working from home or changing your hours. It’s also worth checking if your employer has an ‘adverse weather’ policy, which could give you the right to paid leave, or to discretionary payments for travel disruption.

The best course of action is to speak to your manager and discuss what your employer’s policy is and, where possible, plan ahead for snow days.

Will I get paid if my work is shut?

If your employer has to close its premises, declared a snow day and you don’t usually or can’t work from home, your pay shouldn’t be docked.

On the other hand, you might be asked to work from different premises or from home on snow days.

Do I have to walk to work in the snow?

It all depends on what’s reasonable. If you usually drive but can’t use your car in the snow and you are able to walk to work relatively easily, you might want to do this instead. Remember, your employer doesn’t necessarily have to pay you if you can’t make it in.

If you live far away or walking could be treacherous, your employer can’t make you come in. But because you may not get paid if you don’t turn up, it’s worth speaking to them and trying to come with an alternative arrangement for snow days that works for both of you.

Will I have to take it as holiday if I can’t get to work?

That’s a possibility, but only if you’re given enough warning – so in practice this will only apply if extreme weather causes major disruption that’s expected to last several days.

The first thing to check is your employment contract to see whether any rule about this has been put in place.

If not and you can’t get to work because of disruption, as a general rule of thumb your employer can ask you to take time off as holiday – but the Government says it has to give you notice of this at least twice as long as the time it wants you to take off. So, for example, if it wanted you to take a day as holiday, you’d need two days’ notice of it.

What if my child’s school is shut for a snow day?

If your child’s school is closed for a snow day or your normal childcare arrangements are disrupted due to the snow, you may have the right to time off to look after your child – speak to your manager about this.

ACAS says in an emergency situation you can take unpaid leave to look after your child, and extreme weather may qualify. The law doesn’t specify how much unpaid leave can be taken,  but that it should be a “reasonable” amount and employers should try to be flexible.

Again, plan ahead where possible by checking what your employer’s policy is, and what help is available if and when these situations arise.