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Employment rights when it snows

If snow affects your ability to get to work, it can raise a number of questions! So, if you’re an employee, what are your rights?
work space

If snow affects your ability to get to work, it can raise a number of questions!

So, if you’re an employee, what are your rights?

Will I be in trouble if I can’t make it in?
If you cannot attend work, you are not automatically entitled to be paid. Your employer might be able to make you take unpaid leave, holiday days or work flexible hours to make up time – even if you legitimately can’t make it in.

Do I have to make the journey into work if I feel it is not safe?
Your employer cannot force you to attempt a journey if it is unsafe to do so. Your safety should be a priority in dangerous travel conditions. However, if you do not make it into work, your employer is not obliged to pay you.

My office/workplace is closed because of the weather; do I have to take the day as holiday?
No, you don’t. If the office is closed and you can’t work from home then your employer can’t make you take annual leave and you should still get paid. Enjoy the snow!

My child’s school is closed – do I have to attend work?
It may be that you cannot attend work as your children’s school is closed and you have been unable to arrange emergency childcare. All employees have the right to take time off in unpaid leave to look after children or dependants in an emergency. Paid leave is at the discretion of the employer.

I’ve made it in, but my co-workers haven’t – it doesn’t seem fair.
There maybe various reasons as to why this is the case but an employee who uses the weather conditions as an excuse for absence, particularly as they live locally, could risk disciplinary action.

My employer has told me that I have to work from home/another office. Do I have to?

There’s not a lot you can do about this – if you can work from home, or do some of your work from home, then it’s reasonable for them to ask it if you can’t make it into the office!

For further employment law advice, contact our team on 01792 468684 or email

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