Did You Know You Can Legally Take Time Off Work Because Of Snow?

Did You Know You Can Legally Take Time Off Work Because Of Snow?

It might be March now and the Spring is in the air – but for some people, there is still more than a little chill in the air!

Parts of the UK for example have been hit by the coldest weather they have seen since way back in 1991. It even got to -5 degrees Celsius in the center of London – which is a chilly 23 degrees in Farenheit – and got even colder in the rural parts of the country.

A polar vortex was responsible, which sent freezing arctic air over the UK and other parts of Europe and the US alike. So Spring hasn’t exactly sprung in most places, with travel disruptions and uncomfortably cold temperatures making life difficult for millions of people.

At times like this, people being to wonder how they’re going to get to work in several inches – or feet, depending where you live – of snow. Most of us can’t just strap on a pair of skies and get going, or fuel up our giant 4×4 and motor through the blizzard. Some of us are relying on public transport, and trains and buses are likely to be canceled in colder weather.

Rural communities are the most likely to be effected, and can even cut off by heavy snowfall in parts of Britain and America alike. So when that happens, how are workers expected to get to their jobs?

It’s caused a lot of people to wonder what would happen if they couldn’t make it into their job each morning. Authorities often warn of a potential risk to life when parts of the country feel colder than the Arctic Circle, and often say that you should only make journeys that are ‘absolutely essential’.

So in the midst of power cuts, phone service disruption, and delays on the roads caused by slow traffic and accidents from drivers who go too fast… is going to work an absolutely essential journey?

Especially since rail and even air transport are can also effected by freezing conditions, many people have begun to wonder if they will still be paid if they simply can’t make it to work.

Well, it turns out that if your place of work is forced to close because of the extreme weather conditions, workers will probably still get paid – in the UK at least.

According to the UK government’s official website at Gov.uk: “If the workplace is closed because of disruption and the employee doesn’t usually work from home, employers can’t usually deduct pay”.

Wow! I hope it’s the same as this everywhere!

So if a snowstorm brings down enough of the white stuff to close offices up and down the land, employees will still receive pay even if they aren’t working. If you’re reading this in the UK, I guess you’re lucky from this point of view.

The thing is, it just gets better! Also under UK employment law, if your place of work is still open but your child’s school has closed due to extreme weather, employees legally have the right to time off!

This is considered an official emergency, as outlined on the Gov.uk website, and you’re allowed to take the time back to arrange childcare for someone to sit your kids. As the website itself reads:

“If an employee’s child’s school is closed or their normal childcare arrangements are disrupted, they could have the right for time off to look after them.”

Pretty sweet deal, right? Well, kinda. The thing is, taking time off to care for children may or may not be paid. The government website says that: “your employer may pay you for time off to look after dependants but they don’t have to”.

Ah, well maybe not as great as it seems, but you could still be playing with the kids in the snow and not get fired, so that’s great.

As temperatures over northern Europe and America plummeted, some people were left asking if there is a minimum temperature that the workplace has to keep to.

There’s always one person in the office who claims that if it goes below a certain temperature, people will be sent home. Turns out, in the UK at least, there’s no such rule.

Some employers are, however, required to maintain a safe working environment, with Health and Safety authorities recommending a minumum temperature of 16 degrees Celcius in offices (61F) for offices, and 13C elsewhere.

So what do you think of all this? Should employers pay you if you can’t actually make it to work? Let us know with a COMMENT, and remember to SHARE this article to get your friends and families’ opinions!

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