Snow joke for businesses…


At the time of writing, I’m confined to the house on the second snow day of 2013. Not that my path to the office is impassable due to glacial conditions, more the fact that our local school takes H&S exceedingly seriously and has closed at the first flake – and so my 3 young sons are cosily sofa bound watching Toy Story 3 for the umpteenth time (I fear my patience has also gone “to infinity and beyond…”)

Like mine, I’m sure every child sprints to the windowsill on a frosty morning, hoping to see the blanket of white that signifies no maths lessons today; and likewise every parent dreads checking the school’s website for fear of an impromptu chance to catch up on the ironing. I’m in the fortunate position (I think) of being self-employed and hence answerable only to myself if I can’t manage to meet my deadlines via laptop on the kitchen table (albeit hampered somewhat by cries of “Mum, can I have some more hot chocolate?”)  But it’s a different story for those that are employed – having to make that call to the boss again can’t be enjoyable. But who actually loses out – the employee or the employer? Is the parent expected to take a day’s holiday, or does the company have to suffer the cost of lost working time, thanks to our firm friend, the British weather?

In general, even in very poor weather conditions, the onus is on employees to get to work – unless the employer has a contractual obligation to provide transport for employees to and from the place of work. Some employers may consider allowing employees to request that time off due to adverse weather be paid as annual leave or hours made up within a reasonable timescale but this not a given. However, if the business itself chooses to temporarily close due to snow, this will in effect be a period of lay-off and the business should pay employees their normal wages (unless there is a provision in their contract which allows for unpaid lay-off, or if the employees agree to being laid off without pay) All quite complicated, really – tis snow joke (sorry).

And with that, Toy Story’s now finished. Time to put on the rather more topical “Ice Age” now, I think …!