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Bad weather

by Paddy Collins on February 28th, 2018


Is it worth having a company policy about bad weather?

A bad weather policy is something that few companies really consider, but with current snowstorms in Ireland and across Europe, how are employees impacted? Should they risk their properties or their personal safety trying to get to work or should they wait out the inclement weather at home? If so, will they be paid for their time off?

The most obvious way to overcome confusion is introduce a detailed policy. Everyone will know the rules before bad weather strikes. Keep in mind, those parts of the country that enjoy moderate weather are often the most ill-equipped to deal with a sudden freeze, snowstorm, or flood. Companies with business units in these areas should draft a policy as soon as possible.

Where severe weather incidents are as rare, a written policy helps individuals steer clear of bad decisions during a weather emergency. The most important aspect is employee safety so a policy should leave it up to the employee’s own judgment, so they really don’t feel like it’s a burden.

This brings up the liability issue. Who, ultimately, is responsible for an accident that occurs when someone attempts to make it in on a bad weather day? Ideally, office closures are widely reported by TV and radio stations or by an outgoing telephone message from the office. It is further recommended that employees attempt to contact the office and speak to a supervisor to clarify office closures. What if transportation to work presents no obvious danger, the office has not been officially closed, and a deadline looms? An employee determined to come in would be wise to communicate with the company first, or at least leave a message. In the end, though, determining liability must proceed on a case-by-case basis. Because there are so many variables—modes of transport, distances travelled, etc.—it is nearly impossible to draft a blanket policy that settles all liability issues.

Whether your business introduces a formal policy or not, dangerous weather conditions must be approached with common sense and serious consideration. After all, you don’t need to be at your desk to make a critical decision!

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