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Winter is on its way

I stuck my nose out of the door this morning to be welcomed by a distinct nip in the air! When I opened the door I saw a lovely wintery frost covering all the paths, plants and trees. I must admit I was pleased to be working at home for most of the morning.

If the meteorological reports are to be believed we could be in for widespread heavy snow. Therefore I thought it would by useful to recap on what to do to manage your employees during severe weather conditions.

Bear a thought for those members of staff working outside or in cold conditions. Make sure their work wear is suitable for the job. You may need to think about the effect cold weather has on their wellbeing, as temperatures plummet you may see a decline in productivity. So be prepared to give them plenty of breaks to warm up!

During severe conditions and after severe weather warnings employees may face difficulty in getting to and from work. The following tips are intended as a guide to managing this problem:-

1. Be proactive – develop an adverse weather policy which sets out clearly what you will do as an employer and what you expect of your employees

2. Consider home-working as an alternative – whilst this may not be an option for some employees it may be a short-term solution for office based employees. The development of a home-working policy should be considered.

3. Identify the options available if an employee is unable to get to work – the option of taking annual leave, unpaid leave or rearrangement of hours.

4. Be prepared – if you know there is a severe weather warning in place give your employees advance warning and what they need to do in that situation

Remember the employee has a contractual obligation to get to work on time, but as an employer you need to maintain the duty of care to ensure they are responsible for their own health and safety.

Let us hope the meteorologists have got it wrong and we are all able to enjoy the benefit of a warm winter and lower fuel costs!

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