I can’t get into work due to the weather, do I still get paid?

With the severe “Beast from the east” and Storm Emma that has caused ‘utter chaos’, this question  has cropped up quite a few times from our clients this week. Fundamentally, the employer needs to make the decision and something that can help them to do so is the National Weather Warnings.

Met Office weather warnings range from red, amber, yellow to green

For example when a red warning is issued, it means “Take Action – Extremely bad weather is expected, travel disruption and do not travel as there is risk to life”. It is prudent to inform your employees not to come into work, after all, if they had an accident this could cause you health and safety issues. Where the employer makes the decision for the employee not to come into work, then the employee gets paid.

Where an amber warning is issued, which is based around “Be Prepared – Severe weather is expected to cause disruption. Do not travel unless necessary and if travelling exercise caution”, then discretion needs to be exercised. Again, if the employer tells the employee not to come in then they get paid. However, where the employer requires the employee to make reasonable efforts to get to work and the employee refuses or decides not to come to work, then this would normally be unpaid or deducted from holiday entitlement at the employer’s discretion.

At the end of the day, many businesses need to function and their employees attending work is a critical part of that. The employee however, cannot arbitrarily decide whether they wish to come into work or not without understanding that they may not get paid for it.

Best advice for employers:

  • Consider your relationship with your employee
  • How critical they are to the company on that day?
  • How much extra effort do they normally put in when supporting your business?

You may want to exercise greater discretion with these employees.

Best advice for employees:

  • Don’t make any assumptions
  • Communicate with your boss
  • Show willingness in the first instance
  • It might take a bit of effort to clear the snow off your car and get you to work a little bit late, but quite often the main roads are clear.


Alasdair Ross

(Chief Executive, We do HR Ltd)