We are used to extreme weather conditions affecting us every now and then, but when severe weather continues indefinitely it can have a major impact on many aspects of business. There's the obvious logistical problems that can create lost business andadditional transport costs but many businesses also have the problem of staff not being able to get to work in the first place. In such instances who covers the cost?
Unless an employeris contractually obliged to provide transport to and from work for their employees, the onus is on employees to get to work. If employees fail to turn up for work because of severe weather or transport difficulties, the employer is under no obligation to pay them. If an employee's normal mode of transport cannot be used because of disruption due to severe weather conditions the employer should first encourage the employee to explore alternative means of transport or if possible, arrange for them to work from home for a period. If this is not a viable option then employers may want to provide some time off that can be made up by working extra hours over the following weeks once the situation has improved, provide unpaid leave or allow staff to take holidays.
Frustrating as it is, it’s important to remember that these situations are out of our control and a pragmatic approach is best. It’s far better to keep safe than brave the elements.