Can I miss work if it snows and do I get paid?

SNOW weather warnings are in place for much of the UK today – but what happens if the white stuff means you can't make it into work?

If you're taking a snow day, you could lose a day's pay depending on your contract.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning today, 27 February, for all of the west and south of Scotland, Northern Ireland, the north of England, the north of Wales and parts of the Midlands.

It said some areas above 200m could see 5cm of snow.

The yellow snow warning is in place until 12pm on Thursday, while a separate yellow rain warning will be in place from Friday, 28 February, until Saturday, 29 February.

But what are your rights if you can't get to work due to snowfall? We explain what you need to know.

Can I miss work if it snows and do I get paid?

Your boss can't force you to travel if it's dangerous, but they usually don't have to pay you either.

If it's possible to work from home, you will probably have to.

And if not you could be asked to take unpaid leave, annual leave or to make up the hours another time.

You could also be asked to travel to another office that is less adversely affected by the weather.

Employers have different rules, so make sure you check your office handbook and contract to see what the extreme weather policy is.

If you genuinely can't get in then make sure you let your boss know as early as possible.

If my office is closed due to the snow, do I have to take a holiday day?

If your office shuts due to snowfall but you were ready and able to go in, the company can't dock your pay.

They shouldn't be able to make you take holiday either, as employers typically have to give you at least two days' notice before they can force you to take annual leave.

You should also get paid in full if your employer reduces your hours due to weather, and if the staff who provide access to your building are unable to get in.

In a nutshell – if you're ready, willing and available to work, but can't because of a problem that's caused by your employer, they usually have to pay you in full.

Check your contract carefully though, as some workplaces may have different policies.

Employers also have a legal requirement to provide a reasonable level of comfort without the need for special clothing.

The law doesn't define what the minimum and maximum working temperatures should be, but Health and Safety Executive guidelines say offices should be at least 16 degrees or a minimum of 13C if the work "involves rigorous physical effort".

So if your office is dropping below those temperatures, you may have a stronger case for working from home.

Can you get time off work if your child's school is closed due to snow – and will you get paid?

Legally, you're allowed to take time off work to look after dependents, in emergency situations.

These could include:

  • If school is closed and a worker cannot leave their child
  • When caring arrangements for a disabled relative are cancelled
  • If a partner is seriously injured as a result of bad weather

This time will be unpaid unless your contract or office policy says otherwise.

Just make sure you let your employer know as soon as possible.

You'll need to explain that you are taking the time to look after a dependent and explain what the issue is and how long the absence is likely to be.

Anyone with worker status rather than employee status will need to come to an arrangement with their employer.

Some households are also eligible for cold weather payments as freezing temperatures and snow has hit the UK.

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