Do you have an adverse weather policy in place?

The Scottish Government and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) has launched a “Fair Work Charter for Severe Weather which sets out fair work practices — including the recommendation that all employers have a severe weather policy.

Economy and Fair Work Secretary Derek Mackay has said: “During the extreme weather last winter, most employers made sensible and responsible decisions regarding their workers. While many businesses faced challenges, we were encouraged by the flexibility provided to staff.”

Those that did not, however, led unions to complain of workers being forced to travel in dangerous conditions and denied pay if they were unable to get into work.

The Charter, which can be found at, encourages unions, employees and employers to work to agree how the impacts of severe weather can best be managed to protect workers’ safety and to minimise disruption to the organisation.

The weather can create tricky situations for both employees and employers to deal with, making it unsafe for employees to get into work and potentially leading to a loss in productivity and output. Having a policy on steps that the company will take when the weather turns bad is key because it lets everyone know what their position is in advance so there are no surprises for the employee.

A strong policy can outline responsibilities for all members of staff in these situations and also help to keep things fair, setting out whether employees who cannot get into work will be asked to work from home, make the time up or take the time as leave.

It can also establish the potential consequences for what action will be taken if an employee is suspected to be lying, such as pursuing a disciplinary procedure.

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