The Beast From the East: Are You Entitled to a Snow Day?

By February 28, 2018For Talent

Batten down the hatches, wrap up warm and panic buy bread in bulk because storm Emma is officially here.

The so-called Beast from the East has brought freezing cold weather to most of Europe over the last few days and the cold front is set to last right into the weekend.

While the snow might be nice to look at (the kids certainly seem to like it) it can throw up a whole host of workplace problems.

Are you entitled to a snow day? Well, that all depends.

Scenario 1: There is heavy snow and roads are treacherous 

If conditions are dangerous your employer may close the business (unfortunately this is completely at their discretion). If this is not an option you may be able to work remotely. If you work remotely you should be paid in full for the day’s work.

Scenario 2: All public transport has stopped

Even though your absence is completely out of your control, your employer does not have to pay you if you fail to turn up for work due to bad weather, even if there is no public transport. Some employers may suggest you take a day of annual leave or work to make up the time at a later date.

Scenario 3: The schools are closed and you need to look after your kids

This is an awkward situation for parents. If local schools are closed an employer has no obligation to pay employees that have to stay at home to look after children. While this is not a statutory right it may be included in your contract so make sure that you check this before making a decision.

If the school closing down is the only thing stopping an employee getting into work then the employee is entitled to unpaid time off to look after children.

Speaking to the Irish Daily Mirror Adare Human Resource Management spokesman Derek McKay said: “We urge employers and organisations to plan for, and use a common-sense approach to treacherous weather conditions, giving consideration to their employees including their organisation’s policy and procedure on pay, attendance and health and safety management.

At the end of the day, your safety is more important than a day’s pay. If in doubt take the safest option.

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Author Alice Murray

Alice Murray is a Content Creator at Jobbio with a passion for Employer Branding and Graduate Culture. She's a keen traveller and a self-proclaimed lazy runner.

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