Weather conditions across the UK are making it difficult for people to travel to work and there is a lot of confusion about what the rules are regarding this and whether those that can’t make it in should still get paid.

Below is an overview of some common scenarios and guidance on what is and is not expected.

I am a business owner, what do I do if an employee doesn’t show up for work?

As an employer, you might make discretionary, informal arrangements for this kind of situation. This could include allowing staff to work from home or letting them make up the time at a later date. However, you are not obliged to do so, and you could choose not to pay an employee that doesn’t show up for work because they are unable to travel. However, please note, this is not the case if you usually provide the means of transport and cancel it yourself, or if there are any related clauses in their employment contract.

Alternatively, you could make your employee take that time as annual leave. However, if you do you must give them a notice period of at least double the time that they would be taking as annual leave if their employment contract doesn’t cover this situation. For example, if it is one day then they will need two days’ notice.

My boss has closed the office. Will I still get paid?

If your employer decides to close the office or workplace due to the bad weather then you are entitled to still get paid. You also cannot be expected to take this time as annual leave. However, they can still ask that you work from home or at another workplace, providing it’s open and within a reasonable distance.

My child’s school has closed, can I take the day off?

Employees have the right to take unpaid time off to deal with emergency situations for their children or other dependents. A school being shut at short notice can be considered an emergency situation. Strictly the day would be unpaid, but not all employees take this approach, you could offer them to take the time as annual leave, or allow the time off as a special circumstance.

If you are a business owner and would like to check what you are expected to offer your employees in this situation, then please contact our specialist employment department on 01752 203500 or

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