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Major new extension of shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents announced

Workplace issues over winter months: Guidance for employers.

The winter season can often create difficulties in the workplace and it is important to ensure that there is a contingency plan in place. It is good practice not to be caught out in the cold on this and to have clear and well communicated policies in place.

Adverse weather

What to consider:

  • If an employee is unable to travel to work due to bad weather conditions, there is no automatic entitlement to receive pay. However, an employer can exercise its discretion.
  • In terms of travelling to work, employees need to understand what is expected of them. A clear and well communicated policy should be in place.
  • Where possible, an employer should be flexible. For example, an agreed alteration to working hours temporarily to minimise disruption or working from home particularly where information technology could be used.
  • Plan ahead, a misunderstanding can often lead to conflict.

Flu and Colds

What to consider:

  • Employers should ensure that employees know when they need to contact work on their first day of sickness and should regularly hold back to work interviews when they return. In certain circumstances, some form of adjustment might need to be considered including a phased return if appropriate.
  • Employees complete either a self-certification form detailing their absence or a Statement of Fitness for Work from their doctor if the illness lasts for longer than 7 days. It is important that all absence is properly authorised otherwise there could be disciplinary issues.
  • Where absence becomes prolonged, an employer may need to consider a medical referral to a specialist or occupational health.
  • An employee could be entitled to full pay during sickness absence rather than just Statutory Sick Pay. The Contract of Employment should state what payment will be made and for how long.
  • It is good practice for an employer to have a clearly communicated absence policy and the Contract of Employment should also make reference to situations of ill health absence.

Holiday entitlements

Whether part or full time, most workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave. Additional leave can be agreed as part of the Contract of Employment.