As the weather draws in how should Employers manage Winter Working

As the weather draws in how should Employers manage Winter Working?


As the weather turns, we take a look at how you can manage this in your business with your Employees. Winter can bring a decline in Employee engagement and workplace attendance for a number of different reasons.


How can the weather impact Employees?

A lack of Employee motivation at this time of year can be caused by a range of factors. To name a few these include:

  • Returning to work after annual leave
  • Dark mornings
  • Financial constraints Christmas
  • Failed New Year’s resolutions


There can also be a spike in sickness absence. We have included a separate article on our website and in our last Newsletter of 2022, this outlines some best practice along with your legal responsibilities as an Employer.

Additionally, heavy snow, ice, and very cold weather can often make it difficult for employees to commute to work. These factors can also force school closures which adds another difficulty for Employees, and subsequently for you to deal with.


Should I have a Policy in place in my workplace?

We strongly advise that you include a ‘Severe Weather, Disruptions & Public Transport Policy’ as standard, you can do so as a standalone one or add to your HR Handbook, which we add as standard to the HR and You Law Ltd Handbook.

If you are creating your own, here are some basic pointers as a minimum to include:


  • It is your Employee’s responsibility to report to work regardless of the situation and should make every effort to attend. They should take steps to obtain advice from appropriate external agencies, allow extra time if required, and/or make alternative arrangements if needed.
  • It is ok to acknowledge Employees may occasionally experience difficulties travelling to and from work, and that you are committed to protecting their Health & Safety. However, you also must ensure your business is not unduly affected by external factors.
  • There are instances where absence or lateness is acceptable.


You may wish to consider the below options for the affected Employees on these occasions:


  • Make up the time later
  • Take any absence from work as part of the annual leave entitlement.
  • Take any absence from work as special unpaid leave (in this case, pay will reduce accordingly to take account of the hours/days not worked)
  • Be paid as if they had attended work on the day(s) of absence
  • Work from home or otherwise work remotely

(be mindful to apply a consistent approach to other employees in similar situations to avoid claims of discrimination)


There are many variables that you may come across including potential severe weather and major disruptions. In these instances where safety is a concern, you should take a reasonable approach to the situations.

You may find yourself in an eventuality where you need to close your business temporarily due to adverse weather. In these instances, you should pay your Employees for the days your business is closed. However, you can require your Employees to use Annual Leave to cover these days providing the proper notice is provided (and you have the relevant clauses within your Employment Contracts).


How can we help?

If you need any advice, at any time, contact a member of the HR and You Ltd team. We can help you navigate any tricky situations whilst keeping you legally compliant.






This article contains a general overview of information only. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon, as legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.

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