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Managing Absence: Hurricane Ophelia

This year has been quite eventual as we have suffered disruptions from storm Doris and Ewan earlier this year and now the Met has warned about the chaos that is likely to be caused by Hurricane Ophelia. Employees are likely to encounter problems getting to work, from delayed trains, car and household damage to dangerous walking conditions.

Given that there is a yellow warning in place for much of Wales, Scotland, the North-East, North-West and South-West of England as well as the West Midlands, we thought it would be a good idea to remind employers in how to deal with disruption caused by staff not being able to get into work. 

First port of call is review your handbook to ascertain whether or not you have a severe weather policy, in the event that you do not, then follow this simple guide: 

1. Be reasonable.

2. Be consistent, however, individual circumstances should be considered to avoid discrimination claims i.e. a single mother who is unable to get into work because of schools closures should not be disciplined, or subjected to a detriment, even if other employees within the same area have been able to attend work. 

3. Consider home working arrangements or if you have multiple sites allow employees to temporarily work at a site closer to home. 

4. Consider organising transport or carpooling arrangements. 

5. Postpone out of town meetings

In summary, if you are an employer without a severe weather policy, be as flexible as you can. If, however, you feel that employees are being dishonest and taking advantage of the situation, you should not be afraid to instigate disciplinary proceedings.

Do you require a severe weather policy put in place or some hurricane-related advice? Please contact Samira Cakali at SCE Solicitors on 0113 350 4030 or hello@scesolicitors.co.uk

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and dispute resolution practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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