does my employer have a cold-weather policy in place?

  • Post last modified:February 8, 2024
  • Reading time:4 mins read

With the Met Office issuing yellow and amber warnings for UK snow in parts of north Wales and northern and central England on Thursday 8 February, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called on employers not to force their staff to take any risks by making dangerous journeys to work.

In short, the TUC says employers must show understanding and not punish workers by withholding pay or making them use their holiday.

UK snow: bad weather policies

The TUC suggests that all employers have clear weather policies to set out what staff should do when snow and ice, or a lack of public transport, prevents them getting to work.

For example, when the snow causes problems on the UK’s transport network it makes sense for employers to encourage and enable staff to work from home if they can, rather than struggle with a lengthy, risky, and difficult commute to and from work.

The union body says that these policies should also cover what parents should do if schools close and they have no alternative childcare.

UK snow has been falling across much of the central and northern parts of the country:

As Sky News reported, the government has issued yellow cold health alerts in parts of the UK. Plus, one county council in Wales has shut every school ahead of the UK snow forecast.

Minimum temperatures are needed in workplaces

So, the TUC is also reminding employers to keep their workplaces safe during the UK snow snap.

Official health and safety law says the temperature should normally be at least 16°C  (or 13°C  if much of the work indoors involves severe physical effort). Bosses should also ensure entrances to workplaces are gritted and not slippery.

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said:

Some of us may be excited as UK snow falls around the country this week.

But others will be left worrying what to do about getting to work if trains and buses stop running – or if schools are closed.

Employers must show understanding and not force staff to make dangerous journeys. And workers shouldn’t be docked pay or holiday if they can’t make it in.

Good bosses will already have bad weather policies in place so staff know where they stand and recognise the difficulties those with children face when schools are forced shut.

So, if UK snow is going to make it difficult for you to get in to work, or your children to get in to school, make sure your bosses are doing their jobs too and accommodating this.

Featured image via the Independent – YouTube

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